Congress created a history of sorts in the general elections in Seemandhra with over 150 candidates forfeiting their deposits.
It is probably the first time that a national political party fared miserably in the Assembly and Parliamentary elections in one region. Staring at the certain defeat in the elections, Congress leaders had never bargained for voters heaping such humiliation on them.
Modi factor, strong anti-incumbency mood, anger against bifurcation of the State coupled with crucial caste polarisation in the politically surcharged Seemandhra region dealt a body blow to the Congress party. The crushing defeat handed out to the former Ministers, party seniors and several second and third rung leaders, who were given tickets is certain to haunt the leadership for months together, according to APCC leaders.
While a majority of the former Ministers and legislators chose to defect to the YSR Congress and the TDP on the eve of elections, those who reluctantly entered the fray never bargained for such drubbing. Statistics in the 175 assembly constituencies gathered by The Hindu shows that as many as many as 150 candidates secured less than 5,000 votes. A majority of them did not even cross the 2,000 mark against the rivals and only over a dozen got more than 10,000 votes.
Worse still was the performance of Congress in eight assembly constituencies where the candidates got less than 1,000 votes and were relegated to fourth, fifth and six position much below the Bahujan Samaj Party, Pyramid Party of India, Jai Samaikandhra Party and Independents.
A look at the performance of APCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy, former Ministers like Anam Ramnarayana Reddy, S. Sailajanath, Kondru Murali Mohan, Paspuleti Balaraju and Kanna Lakshminarayana and former PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana reveals voters’ anger against the Congress.
Mr. Raghuveera Reddy came third in Penukonda constituency securing 16,494 votes against TDP’s winning candidate’s tally of 79,793 votes. Mr. Anam Ramanarayana Reddy faced his worst political defeat securing only 8,927 votes only to forfeit deposit in Atmakur constituency. Mr. Kondru Murali Mohan and Dr. Sailajanath too followed suit.
APCC chief spokesperson R. Padmaraju told The Hindu that it was the most unfortunate development in the annals of Andhra Pradesh. “Had we done some fire fighting after the July 30 announcement to divide the State, things would have been different,” he said. He frankly admitted that party leaders just could not counter the campaign launched by other opposition parties blaming Congress for the division.
He said the party was forced to allot tickets to fresh faces and there were other serious constraints that reflected in the party’s worst ever performance in Seemandhra. Despite the rough weather, former Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi extensively campaigned in the region, he said.