Congress finishes at third place in Central Coastal Andhra

Telugu Desam Party has comfortably defeated YSR Congress and the Congress in all Central Coastal Andhra Pradesh districts bagging largest number of sarpanch seats in the first phase of elections to Gram Panchayats on Tuesday. In Krishna and neighbouring districts the TDP did well, though the elections were not held on party symbol-basis. Majority of the candidates were supported by the three major political parties and the polling on Tuesday tested their strength in those pockets. While the Telugu Desam Party claims to have won in more than a 100 gram panchayats in Krishna District, the YSR Congress emerged in the second place and the Congress Party has been pushed to the third. East Godavari was the only surprise package with YSRC bagging the highest number of sarpanch seats. The TDP claim is, however, countered by both the Congress Party and YSRC and claim that they had won more than 100 sarpanch posts. Some of the Congress and YSR Congress sympathisers, however, agreed that the Telugu Desam benefited from the splitting of traditional Congress votes between them. Since it was a “do or die” situation, the TDP leadership, mostly MLAs, extended all out support to candidates whom they supported.

It was not pre-conceived, but the mandals that went to polls in the first phase in Krishna District were all strongholds of the Telugu Desam. The party has strong following in Gannavaram, Nuzvid, Tiruvur and Reddigudem mandals, the Congress supporters said.

The performance of TDP would not be so good in the second and third phases in which the Congress and YSR Congress would do better, the Congress leaders said. However, the results of the first phase in Krishna District are a shot in the arm for the Telugu Desam and it is bound to have an impact on elections in the second and third phases. The TDP leaders said that their only explanation was the anti-incumbency factor. The Telugu Desam wrested several gram panchayats that were with the Congress.