ANDHRA PRADESH

Last-minute efforts to garner votes

ANANTAPUR, APRIL 24. As the campaigning for election to the 14 Assembly and two Lok Sabha constituencies closed in the district on Saturday, major political parties have now turned their attention to working out strategy for the polling day.

Their last-minute efforts to woo voter blocks by winning over community/opinion leaders are also in a full swing. The role of money and liquor assumes significance in the next 24 hours.

Several candidates, both of the ruling party and the Opposition, have allegedly distributed cricket kits to youth, vermilion boxes, `kumkum' stickers and sarees to women and sunk borewells for general public among other things to influence voters.

The TDP candidate from Penukonda, Paritala Ravindra, who has been entrusted the responsibility to see the party through in the elections, has visited all the constituencies and held talks with group leaders.

The former Minister, P. Srinivasa Reddy, is being deputed to the district by the party high command to oversee strategy for the polling day.

Canvassing in the district was on a low-key in this edition of elections except the whirlwind campaigning, including road-shows by the TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, on April 19 and 20 covering nine constituencies and the Congress leader, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, on April 23, covering 10 constituencies.

While B.V. Raghavulu and Sitaram Yechuri canvassed for the CPI(M) candidate in Uravakonda, S. Sudhakar Reddy campaigned for the CPI-backed independent in Dharmavaram. The BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, and a few film stars, including Vijayashanti, canvassed for the party candidate in the Kadiri constituency.

Though independents are in the fray at several places the candidates of major parties are engaged in direct contest in a majority of the constituencies. Multi-cornered contests are in the offing in Anantapur, Kadiri and Dharmavaram constituencies, where there are rebels.

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