Situation tense in Tirupati as Chandragiri TDP candidate comes under attack

Gunman fires a round in the air to disperse the unruly mob; Pulivarthi Nani suffers an injury to his chest

Updated - May 15, 2024 07:56 am IST

Published - May 14, 2024 08:16 pm IST - TIRUPATI

Armed policemen chasing away an unruly mob outside the SPMVV campus in Tirupati on Tuesday, where TDP leader Pulivarthi Nani’s car came under attack.

Armed policemen chasing away an unruly mob outside the SPMVV campus in Tirupati on Tuesday, where TDP leader Pulivarthi Nani’s car came under attack.

A tense atmosphere prevailed in western Tirupati as an unruly mob surrounded the car of Chandragiri TDP candidate Pulivarthi Venkata Mani Prasad (Pulivarthi Nani) and tried to attack him near the Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam (Women’s University) campus here on Tuesday.

Mr. Nani’s gunman, identified as Dharani, fired a round in the air in self-defence and to disperse the mob, thus bringing the situation under control before reinforcements could arrive. In spite of sustaining bleeding injuries, he safeguarded Mr. Nani and others seated inside the car.

The gunman who sustained injuries in the attack, allegedly perpetrated by YSRCP cadre.

The gunman who sustained injuries in the attack, allegedly perpetrated by YSRCP cadre.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Nani visited the SPMVV campus where the strongroom for storing EVMs is housed. Suddenly, a group of young men, allegedly owing allegiance to a YSRCP leader from the nearby village of C. Ramapuram in Tirupati Rural mandal, intercepted the car and began hurling stones and empty beer bottles.

Video footage recorded by a dashboard camera installed inside the car showed the attackers using hammers, cricket bats and rods to break the windscreens of the vehicle.

A view of the vandalised car.

A view of the vandalised car.

Mr. Nani suffered an injury on his chest after a stone hurled by the attackers landed on him. He was rushed to the SVIMS super-specialty hospital where his condition is said to be out of danger. His wife, Pulivarthi Sudha Reddy was the first to call the police, media personnel and party cadre who rushed to the spot.

‘Toxic culture’

TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh reacted angrily on X. Posting a video of the vandalised car, he expressed shock over the ‘toxic faction culture’ unleashed by the YSRCP and demanded stringent action against the perpetrators of the attack.

Meanwhile, District Election Officer Pravin Kumar and Superintendent of Police Krishna Kanth Patel rushed to the spot and announced steps to bring the situation under control.

Telugu Yuvatha State general secretary A. Ravi Naidu called the attack a ‘heinous act’ by those having no respect for democratic values.

“There should be only ideological opponents in politics and no enemies. Victory and failure are common in politics, but the YSRCP leaders seem to have no belief in such values,” he said at a hurriedly-convened media conference. He also called it the first indication of frustration arising out of the perception of imminent defeat.

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