Andhra Pradesh bypolls: Ruling party touches its nadir

Wins in two Assembly segments, Narasapuram and Ramachandrapuram, have bought time for Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and given pause to Congress MLAs who may be contemplating deserting the party.

According to sources, the Central leadership of the Congress has decided to effect changes in the state’s leadership only after the elections for the President and Vice-President are completed.
AICC leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Vayalar Ravi will, in the meantime, begin consultations with party leaders to prepare a plan for the rejuvenation of the Congress in the state. It’s crucial that the party retains its base in the Seemandhra region.

The rout of the Congress in 10 of the 12 districts where byelections were held, and losing those seats with higher than expected margins, shocked several Congress leaders, some of whom are attributing it to the untimely arrest of Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy and the subsequent sympathy vote in his favour.

Former minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy called for an overall review of the performance of both the party and the government to prevent a rout in the 2014 general elections.

“Those enjoying power in the state are responsible for the party’s poor performance,” he alleged.
The general reaction of the Congress leaders to the results on Friday was that it is high time the party’s central leadership focused on AP and takes corrective measures.

Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana, who is said to have told Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the conclusion of polling on June 12 that the party could win only in Narsapuram and Ramachandrapuram, has been proved to be right.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s prediction was less accurate. He calculated that the Congress would win in at least five constituencies, including the two it did win.

The Chief Minister attended no public programmes on Friday, remaining incommunicado at his residence.

His efforts in mobilising the resources, men and material to defeat YSR Congress candidates have ultimately proved futile if one compares the vote share of the Congress in the 10 districts which account for the 16 Assembly and Nellore Lok Sabha constituencies.

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