“Don’t Know If Family Under Threat”: Voter Who Slapped Andhra MLA Back

 

When Gottumukkala Sudhakar left his home last morning and headed to a polling booth in Andhra Pradesh’s Tenali, little did he know that he would return with several injuries and a fear for his family members’ safety.

Mr Sudhakar was brutally assaulted by YSR Congress Party MLA Sivakumar and his supporters when he objected to the legislator and his family members jumping the queue at the voting booth.

The assault was captured in a viral video, sparking outrage against the MLA’s brazen show of VIP culture. In the video, YSR Congress Party MLA A Sivakumar is seen approaching Mr Sudhakar and slapping him across the face. Mr Sudhakar hits back and the MLA’s aides pounce on him as other voters are seen trying to intervene.

Gottumukkala Sudhakar said he was bleeding after the assault by the MLA’s aides

Narrating the incident to the media, Mr Sudhakar said he and other voters were in queue when the MLA and his family members went inside the booth. “Everyone should stand in queue and vote. No one enjoys special privileges. So I asked his followers to join the queue. They must have told him when he came out after voting. He came to me and asked me, ‘who are you to question, how dare you?’ And then he slapped me,” he said, his left eye swollen due to an injury.

Mr Sudhakar said he hit back on the spur of the moment. “I didn’t even realise I had done it till they told me later. When police came, I said I won’t go anywhere before I vote. Police took me in through the exit gate. I voted, and they brought me out to the police station. They (MLA and his aides) beat me up so badly that I was bleeding, just because I asked them to follow rules,” he said.

He said he is worried about his family. “I don’t know if my family is under threat. I seek protection for my mother, me and my family.”

Local police have registered an FIR against the MLA and at least seven of his aides on Mr Sudhakar’s complaint.

The incident has also sparked a political slugfest between the ruling YSR Congress Party and the Opposition Telugu Desam Party. The TDP has registered a complaint with the Election Commission.

TDP spokesperson Jyothsna Tirunagi told NDTV yesterday that the incident captures the ruling party’s desperation “because they know they are losing”. “This is ridiculous. The retaliation by the voter shows that people are not going to tolerate this nonsense anymore.”

YSR Congress Party MLA Abdul Hafeez Khan earlier said they are reviewing the viral video and alleged a conspiracy to defame the ruling party.

Simultaneous elections to Andhra Pradesh’s 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats were held yesterday. The YSRCP, led by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, is eyeing a third term. On the other side is former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, whose TDP has joined ranks with BJP for the big poll fight.

NDTV News-India-news 

 

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