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Alarmed over the drastic increase, the Chief Minister cancelled his election tour saying there was a big risk of coronavirus spreading as his meetings would attract a large number of people.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy cancelled his Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll campaign, scheduled for April 14, amid rising Covid-19 cases.

On Saturday, the state reported 2,765 new infections with a positivity rate of 8.67 percent, higher than the national rate, which is 5.87 percent. The number of Covid-19 cases had fallen to less than 50 in the first week of February in the state but there has been a steady spike in the number of daily cases since March 15. Alarmed over the drastic increase, the Chief Minister cancelled his election tour saying there was a big risk of coronavirus spreading as his meetings would attract a large number of people.

CM Jagan, instead, wrote an open letter to the voters, mentioning that the Parliament constituency, spread across Chittoor and Nellore districts, recorded a big spike in Covid cases the past few days. Of the 2,765 positive cases on Saturday, 496 cases were registered in Chittoor and 292 cases in Nellore districts. Out of 11 people who died due to Covid, four were from Chittor and Nellore districts, he said in the letter. The April 17 bypoll was necessitated after YSRCP MP B Durga Prasad died of Covid-19 last September.

“As the public meeting will attract huge crowds, keeping in view the health and well-being of the people and the danger of increasing cases, as a responsible Chief Minister and leader, the scheduled April 14 meeting stands cancelled,” the Chief Minister said and appealed to the voters to increase the margin of victory for YSRCP candidate Dr M Gurumoorthy.

The Chief Minister said that he had earlier written letters to all families residing in the constituency, explaining how they benefitted from the government welfare schemes. The Telugu Desam Party has fielded former MP Panabaka Lakshmi, while the BJP has fielded former IAS officer K Ratna Prabha.

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