Protests Erupt in Andhra Pradesh Over Unfulfilled Vote-Buying Promises

Residents in Andhra Pradesh's Sattenapally protest over unfulfilled promises of bribe money for voting in simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Similar protests occur in Pithapuram and Kothapeta, highlighting concerns over electoral malpractice.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Protests Erupt in Andhra Pradesh Over Unfulfilled Vote-Buying Promises

Protests Erupt in Andhra Pradesh Over Unfulfilled Vote-Buying Promises

Residents in Sattenapally, Andhra Pradesh, have taken to the streets to protest after not receiving promised bribe money for voting for a particular candidate in the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. The incident has sparked concerns over electoral malpractice and the integrity of the electoral process in the state.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the pervasive issue of vote-buying in Indian elections, which can undermine the legitimacy of democratic processes. If left unchecked, such practices can lead to a loss of faith in the electoral system and have long-term consequences for the country's democratic institutions.

On May 13, 2024, voters in Sattenapally's 18th ward confronted local leaders, questioning why they were not given the promised amount despite marking their names on a list indicating they had received money. Similar protests were reported in Pithapuram, where voters alleged that only a few received the promised Rs 3,000 per head, while local leaders kept the remaining cash. In Kothapeta, East Godavari district, voters threw back sarees distributed by local leaders into their homes as a form of protest.

The simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh have 25 seats in the Lok Sabha and 175 seats in the Assembly at stake. The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is banking on welfarism, claiming to have implemented 99% of its 2019 promises. The party's Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes and nine promises (navaratnalu) have resonated with the people.

On the other hand, the opposition front led by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is hoping to cash in on anti-incumbency, especially in urban pockets. The TDP and Jana Sena have highlighted a lack of development, a new capital city, and allegations of corruption in their campaign. N Siva, a member of Jana Sena and fisherman from Raparthi Village near Pithapuram, noted, "While the leaders are friends, the local TDP leaders are not co-operating in some constituencies where JS got seats. This is self-destructive for the opposition front."

Caste affiliations are also impacting polls, with dominant communities like Kammas, Kapus, and Reddys competing for primacy over governance and administration. The Hindu-CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey in 2019 showed that 57% of dominant castes voted for the TDP and 29% for the YSRCP. The TDP is generally referred to as the Kamma party, the Congress is thought to be supported by the Reddys, and the Kapus are believed to back Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena party.

Region-wise, caste equations and anti-establishment trends are prominent in Krishna district, which may impact the ruling YSRCP and result in gains for the opposition front. The voting pattern in North Andhra region, including Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, and Rayalaseema, will be crucial, with allegations of land-grab and delay in executing the capital shift proposal impacting the YSRCP's prospects. M Pavani from Visakhapatnam lamented, "I have done B.Tech, but there are no jobs here. All are migrating to Hyderabad, as here too much focus on welfare has kept IT companies away from this port city."

The protests in Sattenapally and other parts of Andhra Pradesh over unfulfilled promises of vote-buying have brought the issue of electoral malpractice to the forefront. As the state grapples with caste dynamics, regional disparities, and concerns over development, the integrity of the electoral process remains a crucial factor in determining the outcome of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Key Takeaways

  • Residents in Andhra Pradesh protest over unpaid bribe money for voting in simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
  • Voters in Sattenapally, Pithapuram, and Kothapeta demand promised money, sparking concerns over electoral malpractice.
  • Vote-buying undermines democratic processes, leading to loss of faith in the electoral system.
  • Caste affiliations and regional disparities impact polls, with dominant communities competing for primacy.
  • Electoral malpractice and integrity of the electoral process are crucial factors in determining poll outcome.