Leaving the incidents of violence during the polling on Thursday where three persons were killed – two from YSR Congress and one from the Telugu Desam Party – the major incident that was noticed by the people across the State was the incidents that were reported in Sathenapalli Assembly constituency, where Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, was chased by the voters.
The opposition to him was not an isolated development. It has a long history where people in Sathenapalli and Narasaraopet areas have been facing harassment by Kodela family. It was openly said that people had to pay KST (Kodela Service Tax) in the area. Be it a trader, or a street vendor, or a builder and even a common man, everyone was forced to pay the KST from their nose. It is alleged that Kodela son imposed this KST and had been collecting it for the past five years.
A few weeks ago, there was a rally in Narasaraopet by all parties. The interesting thing is that some of the TDP leaders also joined the protests and the Narasaraopet bandh was a big success. The traders and street vendors joined the bandh indicating how much they were put to sufferings by the family in the last five years. Several of the TDP leaders have held protests in Sathenapalli and Narasaraopet opposing party ticket to Kodela. Some of them have even met party chief Chandrababu Naidu asking him not to field Kodela in this election.
However, Chandrababu Naidu could not drop Kodela as the latter enjoys better grip in the party and in fact even a strong contender for the party leadership, if Chandrababu Naidu had to be changed. It is said that Kodela had planned a coup against Chandrababu Naidu with the support of a popular media house, when Naidu was in trouble on the note for vote case. It was said that Kodela was ready to take over the reins if Naidu was arrested in the case, but it was averted with the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following which Chandrababu Naidu had shifted his base from Hyderabad to Vijayawada overnight.
Keeping these differences aside, Chandrababu Naidu had to field Kodela this time too and that had angered the party leaders who joined the opposition parties to defeat this Narasaraopet’s strong man. It is to be seen how Kodela would take this attack on him by the voters, who chased him from the polling booth to his house.