Andhra Pradesh bypolls: Jagannaut runs over Congress and Desam

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Jailed Kadapa MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress swept the bypolls in Andhra Pradesh winning 15 out of the 18 Assembly constituencies and the Nellore Lok Sabha seat.

The ruling Congress won two seats, came second in five places, a poor third in 10 seats, fifth in one segment and lost its deposit in six constituencies.

The Telugu Desam did not win a single seat and lost its deposit in four seats. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti won the lone seat in the region, Parkal, by a narrow margin over the YSR Congress; the BJP landed up fourth and the Congress fifth.

Y.S. Vijayalakshmi, Sharmila Reddy and Bharati Reddy visited Jagan Mohan Reddy in Chanchalguda prison.

Speaking to mediapersons later, Vijayalakshmi said that her son was very happy with the results and hoped he would be back from jail soon and continue his Odarpu yatra. She added that the bypoll results were a reflection of the public’s affection for the YSR Congress, 'God’s will' and the same would be repeated in 2014.

YSRC increases vote share

The electorate seems to have accepted the YSR Congress candidates in their new political avatar if their huge margin of victory is any indication.

Except for three, all the party candidates polled more votes in the just concluded by-polls than they did when they last contested on Congress and Praja Rajyam tickets in the 2009 general election.

Even in Ramachandra-puram, where the party lost, its candidate P. Subashchandra Bose polled 9,000 more votes than he did in 2009. However, Krishna Das, though he won from Narasannapet, polled 6,000 votes less than the last time.

The party’s candidates from Narsapuram and Parkal also polled less votes than in 2009 and lost the election this time.

Party nominee in Payakaraopeta secured a majority of 14,362 against 656 in 2009; T. Balaraju won with 35,967 votes improving his performance by 5,664 votes; M. Sucharita in Prathipadu got 16,781 votes against 2,042; and Sobha Nagi Reddy, who scraped through as the PR candidate last time with a winning margin of 1,958 votes, won this time with a huge margin of 36,795 votes.

Similarly M. Chandra-sekhar Reddy in Udayagiri got a majority of 30,598 votes against 13,482 in 2009, K. Srinivasulu of Kodur got 31,991 (12,388 in 2009), G. Srikanth Reddy of Rayachoti managed 56,891 (14,832), A. Amarnath Reddy of Rajampet got 38,219 (12,342) and K. Chen-nakesav Reddy of Yemmi-ganuru got 20,103 (2,323).

YSR Congress candidate K. Ramachandra Reddy’s victory with a huge margin of 32,476 votes in Rayadurg is unique. He was initially unwilling to contest fearing he would lose as he was involved in the Obula-puram mining scam. But he faced the richest candidate in the fray, Mr G. Deepak Reddy of the TD, and came out with flying colours.

Balineni Srinivas Reddy, who was also under a cloud for helping the Vanpic promoters acquire thousands of acres of land, including in his own constituency, also emerged victorious and improved his margin by 5,000 votes.

In fact, YSR Congress candidates B. Karunakar Reddy of Tirupati, Sucharita of Prathipadu and Babu Rao of Payakaraopeta, who were all considered weak candidates, gave stunning performances because of the Jagan wave.

The hectic campaigning by the Congress trio of CM N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botsa Satyana-rayana and RS MP K. Chiranjeevi, and Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu’s all-out war against the alleged corrupt practices of Jagan Mohan Reddy, failed to dent the YSR Congress’s popularity with voters.

“We won in two places on the strength of the local candidates and the caste equations there and not because of any contribution from any of our star campaigners,” a senior minister admitted on Friday.

Jagan celebrates triumph in jail

Kadapa MP shared the happy news of his party’s victory in the bypolls with mother Y.S. Vijayalakshmi, sister Sharmila and wife Bharati at Chanchalguda jail on Friday. The three women played a key role in campaigning after his arrest.

They spent almost an hour with the Kadapa MP and were swamped by the waiting mediapersons.

Sharmila Reddy told the media that even after the Congress and Telugu Desam had together attacked the YSR Congress, using money, muscle and political power, the people and God were with them.

Asked if her party plans to bring down the Congress government, Sharmila said, “The Congress and TD have an understanding. So there is no question of a change of government now. However, in the 2014 election, people will replace the Congress and TD with the YSRC.”

Vijayalakshmi said her son was happy about the results and will be out of jail soon and will continue his Odarpu yatra. She said the bypoll results indicated the mass support the YSRC enjoys and this will be repeated in 2014.

Hundreds of YSRC activists who gathered on the Saidabad side of the jail wanted to meet the women, but the police stopped them. They burst fire crackers, and the cops took some of them into custody.
Speaking to reporters at her residence Lotus Pond, Vijayalakshmi said people’s will had prevailed.

“We had sought justice in the people’s court over the inclusion of YSR’s name in CBI chargesheets and the illegal arrest of Jagan. The people have delivered justice by voting for YSRC candidates. People’s verdict has proved that Jagan is innocent and the government has fabricated false cases against him. This is a victory given by God and people,” she said.

“The Congress and the TD had resorted to all kinds of irregularities to defeat YSRC. They even lured voters with Rs 1,000 to cast votes in their favour and Rs 2,000 if they do not vote for YSRC. Despite all this, the people voted for YSRC,” she added.

She said the Congress has no moral right to continue in power now.

“In 2009, Congress came to power because of YSR. It suffered defeats in the by-polls in the Kadapa LS and Pulivendula Assembly seats last year at the hands of the YSRC. People have again rejected the Congress. The party has lost the moral right to continue in power,” she said.

Bharati Reddy said: “The poll results show that people are behind Jagan. Jagan will come out clean from the jail.”

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