Wednesday, May 22, 2024

MLA From Jagan Reddy’s Party Slaps Voter In Polling Queue, He Hits Back


A screengrab shows YSR Congress Party MLA A Sivakumar slapping the voter


In a brazen show of VIP culture, an Andhra Pradesh MLA slapped a voter, reportedly after he had objected to the legislator jumping the queue at a polling booth in Guntur district this morning.

In a video that has now gone viral, Tenali’s YSR Congress Party MLA A Sivakumar is seen approaching the voter and slapping him across the face. The voter returns the blow, and the MLA’s aides join him in launching an all-out assault on the voter. Other voters waiting for their turn are seen trying to stop the assault as the MLA’s aides keep hitting the voter. In the 10-second video, no security personnel can be seen intervening to rescue the voter.

It is not clear what exactly happened before the exchange of blows began, but the MLA’s attack on the voter has come under strong criticism on social media.

Andhra Pradesh’s 25 Lok Sabha seats and 175 Assembly seats are voting today. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party government is up against an alliance of the BJP and the N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party.

TDP spokesperson Jyothsna Tirunagi told NDTV said the incident captures the ruling party’s desperation “because they know they are losing”. “This is ridiculous. The retaliation by the voter shows that people are not going to tolerate this nonsense anymore.”

YSR Congress Party MLA Abdul Hafeez Khan has said they are reviewing the viral video and alleged a conspiracy to defame the ruling party. On its social media handles, the party has shared visuals of its injured supporters and workers and alleged that TDP members had attacked them.

The viral video comes against the backdrop of a high-octane poll campaign in Andhra Pradesh, with leaders of TDP and YSR Congress Party exchanging strong words in the run-up to the polls. Tempers are also running high because both parties have a lot at stake in this election. Mr Reddy, who has been in the saddle for a decade now, wants to repeat a victory in these polls. On the other side is Mr Naidu, who has joined ranks with the BJP in a strong push to make a comeback to power. 

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