Four others are also in the fray as Independents but they are being seen as "dummies" of the main candidates. The bye-election is being held because of the vacancy caused by the death of Tangirala Prabhakar of the TDP, who died of heart-attack days after getting elected to the first Assembly of new Andhra Pradesh in May.
The TDP has fielded Prabhakar's daughter Sowmya, a software engineer, for the by-poll and requested other parties not to field candidates so as to make the election unanimous. While the YSR Congress agreed not to jump into the fray, the Congress fielded Bodapati Babu Rao, a local Dalit leader, against the TDP nominee.
However, the TDP is confident of victory because of the "sympathy" factor as well as the positive mood among people towards the party. Moreover, Nandigama segment is considered a citadel of the TDP as it did not lose an election here in the last two decades. "Our victory is certain as the TDP has always stood by the people.
They know that only the TDP government can fulfill all the promises it makes and it has been established in the last three months. The Congress has already been rejected by the Andhra people in May itself," state Social Welfare Minister Ravela Kishore Babu, who campaigned vigorously in the constituency, said.
Though it is not confident of victory, the Congress' game plan is to ensure its candidate polls more votes than the nominee in the May election.
In the May election, Congress' V Parameswara Rao got a meagre 2,008 votes because of the severe anger people vent on the party for bifurcating the state. Former minister Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru) is said to be moving the strings to see his nominee Babu Rao polls more votes in the by-poll to prove that the party improved its strength.
PCC President N Raghuveera Reddy, former Union ministers of state J D Seelam, Killi Kruparani, former state minister Botsa Satyanarayana and other leaders conducted an extensive campaign in Nandigama, highlighting how the TDP government was reneging on its promises, primarily the loan waiver for farmers and self-help groups women.
The TDP leaders, however, remain unperturbed saying the government has already initiated the waiver process and also issued necessary guidelines in the regard. But the bye-election still remains a test for the TDP to determine that its government enjoys popular support.