In the polling held on 17th April for the Tirupati parliamentary constituency, massive voter fraud came to light. Leaders and cadre of the opposition parties levied serious allegations against the ruling YSRCP that question the state of democracy in Andhra Pradesh. National Party President of the TDP and former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner stating the rampant bogus voting and fraud that took place on the 17th. The letter cites a record of six complaints filed by the TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi herself, 25 complaints by TDP, and numerous newspaper articles. Moreover, 11 video clips and one audio file were also attached with the letter.
TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi herself caught people red-handed at booth no. 219 in the 47th division in Tirupati town. Many ‘voters’ had fake EPIC cards, some without a photo others with a sticker on the back. Upon asking people in the queue about basic details that are mentioned on the voter ID, bogus voters were not able to answer and were driven away from the polling booth. Naidu mentioned in the letter that thousands of people had arrived in Tirupati on the night of 16th from neighboring Kadapa and Kurnool districts, and other assembly segments. The DGP gave a statement on the 17th saying that more than 250 vehicles were sent back. The letter implies that while 250 may have been sent back, hundreds more had successfully entered.
An audio clip was made public in which YSRCP MLA Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy is evidently plotting to bring outsiders into Tirupati and suggested casting 400 fake votes. A BJP agent stationed at booth no. 152-A was to vote in the same booth. But to his surprise, an imposter had come to the booth as the agent himself! The imposter was caught and handed over to the police, but no action was taken. Many genuine voters, similarly, had to turn away without exercising their right to vote as a result of bogus voting.
The TDP has alleged that local authorities have pulled a blanket over the whole issue. Despite complaining to the Superintendent of Police, Tirupati Urban, no action was taken against many imposters. Chandrababu Naidu appealed to the Election Commission to hold reelections in a free and fair manner adding that all parties had issued statements regarding the dubious nature of this election. He emphasized that such a move would boost the confidence of genuine voters and help restore people’s faith in democracy.