The by-elections to the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh, scheduled for May 8, will not be fought on the issues of power, water, or sufferings of farmer. Instead they will focus on one issue -- the colossal wealth of one of the contenders, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
The declaration of a total wealth of Rs 446 crore by Jagan and his wife Bharati in the affidavit filed along with Jagan's nomination has created a big flutter in the political circles throughout the country, as he will be the richest member of Lok Sabha if he gets re-elected.
His enormous assets spread in different places in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and his business interests in varied sectors ranging from power, cement, infrastructure to the media have become the hot subject of discussion both among the ordinary people and the politicos.
Jagan, having revolted against the Congress party and resigned from the Lok Sabha, is now trying to get elected to the Parliament on his own against powerful candidates of the ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party. Both parties have started cornering him on the issue of his assets and were raising uncomfortable questions about the sources of earning.
Both the parties have pointed out that his wealth has zoomed up almost 400 per cent in less than six years.
Jagan had put his assets at Rs 1.74 crore in 2004, and at Rs 77.39 crore in 2009 when he first time contested and won the Lok Sabha elections from Kadapa.
Reacting to the affidavit of Jagan, the TDP said that he had declared only a part of his wealth.
TDP general secretary Varala Ramaiah wondered how Jagan could make such an enormous amount of money when no other Indian industrialist could have made so much wealth in such a short period of time and that too when the country was passing through a phase of economic difficulties.
He claimed that Jagan's two houses in Hyderabad alone were worth Rs 450 crore.
Andhra Pradesh Congress president N Tulsi Reddy also targeted Jagan's wealth, asking him to answer the questions being asked by the people about the sources of his earnings.
"The fight in Kadapa is between money bags and the poor, and the people will teach Jagan a lesson," he said.
TDP parliamentary party leader Nama Nageshwara Rao, who is also a leading businessman and industrialist in the state, demanded that the Election Commission disqualify Jagan from the election for giving wrong figures of his assets.
"Instead of declaring the market value of his immovable properties, he is trying to mislead the Election Commission and the people by showing less value," he alleged.
Nama Nageshwara Rao said he will lodge a complaint with the EC on the issue.
On the last day of filing of nominations on Saturday, senior minister D L Ravindra Reddy filed his papers from Kadapa as the Congress candidate.
The party had earlier proposed the name of Kandula Rajmohan Reddy as its nominee but chose Ravindra Reddy after the former backed out.
Talking to the media, Ravindra Reddy said that Jagan had stabbed the Congress in the back after benefiting immensely from it. "Whatever he and his family has today is because of the Congress party," he said.
The TDP has fielded senior leader and Rajya Sabha member, M V Mysoora Reddy from Kadapa.
In Pulivendula, the stage was set for a clash between two members of the YSR family. While YS Rajasekhar Reddy's wife Vijayalakshmi filed her nomination paper on Saturday, Congress party has fielded YSR's younger brother Vivekanand Reddy.
Meanwhile, Governor ESL Narasimhan has accepted the resignation of Vivekanand Reddy from the cabinet. He tendered his resignation, saying it will be morally wrong for him to contest assembly elections as a minister.
Jaganmohan Reddy's camp also suffered another setback when the Congress MLA from Badvel in Kadapa district Kamalamm deserted him and returned to the Congress fold saying she had many differences with him.