Congress, TDP on almost equal footing

Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: The Congress, which nearly swept the polls in the country and in Andhra Pradesh, however had to be content with sharing honours with its arch rival, the Telugu Desam party (TDP) in the Chittoor district, the home-ground of N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Another important feature of the election in the district is the triumph of Praja Rajyam founder and megastar Chiranjeevi from the Tirupati Assembly constituency with a margin of about 10,800 votes. He defeated his nearest Congress rival and former Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Trust Board Chairman B. Karunakar Reddy. TDP’s Sankar Reddy, former Municipal Chairperson, finished third in the closely-fought contest. Chiru’s victory at Tirupati, though with a relatively slender margin, was a face-saver as he lost in Palacole in the West Godavari district.

Huge margin for Naidu

It was a shock for the Congress when its desperate attempts to humble TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu in Kuppam constituency came a cropper. Mr. Naidu, who ran for a fifth term from the seat, once again bagged it with ease by winning with a huge margin of 46,665 votes. He defeated his nearest Congress rival Subramanyam Reddy, Chittoor ZPP Chairperson whom Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy specially groomed for the task.

Two LS seats

As for the two Lok Sabha constituencies in the district -- Tirupati and Chittoor -- the Congress and the TDP managed to retain their seats in that order.

In Tirupati, the Congress incumbent and former Minister Chintha Mohan retained the seat for a 6th term by winning it with an impressive margin of 32,000 votes over his nearest Telugu Desam Party rival Varla Ramaiah.

Praja Rajyam’s Varaprasada Rao, a retired IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, took the third place in the keen contest to the Scheduled Castes constituency.

Corrections and Clarifications

The strapline of a report "Congress, TDP on almost equal footing" (AndhraPradesh, May 17, 2009) was "Palacole turns face-saver for PR chiefChiranjeevi". It was an editing error. As the text said, it was theopposite. Chiranjeevi's victory at Tirupati, though with a relativelyslender margin, was a face-saver as he lost in Palacole (West Godavaridistrict).

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