Amid serious infighting in the party over the issue of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy's successor, the Congress made a clean sweep of the posts of Chairman of all the five Zilla Parishads in Andhra Pradesh for which by-elections were held on Wednesday.

Its nominees were elected unopposed as Chairman of three Zilla Parishads - Vizianagaram, West Godavari and Kurnool - while they won without much difficulty in Karimnagar and Adilabad, though after a contest.

Mr. A. Venkataswamy was declared elected as Chairman of the Kurnool Zilla Parishad, Mr. Bellana Chandrasekhar of Vizianagaram Zilla Parishad and Mr. Meka Seshu Babu from West Godavari. The Congress party enjoys a clear majority in these Zilla Parishads.

In Karimnagar, Atluri Laxman Kumar defeated his TDP rival K. Satyanarayana by 31-19 votes in the 57-member house. Seven members abstained from the election in which six members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), two of the TDP and one BJP member voted for the Congress candidate for the ZP chairman's post.

An interesting contest was witnessed in the 52-member strong Adilabad Zilla Parishad where B. Ganapathi, who switched sides from the TDP to the Congress, defeated M. Raju by 27-25 votes. Mr. Raju is a Congress member who received the support of the 14 Telugu Desam members but still could not win.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah hailed the party's victory and said this was an indication that the Congress remained strong in Andhra Pradesh.