BJP, YSR Congress Party win one each

Riding high on the regional sentiment, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged four Assembly seats on Wednesday, ensured the victory of Nagam Janardhan Reddy, an independent it supported, but conceded the sixth seat in Telangana – Mahabubnagar – to the BJP.

The YSR Congress won by a comfortable margin from the lone seat it contested, Kovur in Nellore district of coastal Andhra, making certain that the Congress and the Telugu Desam drew a blank in the seven Assembly by-election seats.

Although mauled, the two major parties drew solace from the improvement in their vote share compared to the 2010 by-election in Telangana when they were defeated by huge margins. They were also pleased over restricting the winning lead of their common foe, the YSR Congress, to below 24,000 votes. The BJP halted the TRS' run by denying it a clean sweep of all the six seats in the region. Although it has allied with the TRS politically in spite of reservations among a section of its leadership, the BJP won the Mahabubnagar seat by a narrow margin of 1,875 votes over the TRS. Its victory is attributed partly to polarisation of votes along communal lines.

TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao in whose Parliament constituency Mahabubnagar lies, refused to attach much significance to this setback when he said, “it is ultimately the Telangana sentiment that has won”.

The winners were: TRS candidates Gampa Govardhan (Kamareddy - 44,465 vote margin), T. Rajaiah (Station Ghanpur - 32,765 votes), Jogu Ramanna (Adilabad - 31,396), Jupally Krishna Rao (Kollapur -15,013), BJP's Y. Srinivas Reddy (Mahabubnagar -1,875), YSR Congress' N. Prasanna Kumar Reddy (Kovur - 23,496) and Independent N. Janardhan Reddy (Nagarkurnool -18,495).

A feature of the results was the marked contrast between the TRS' winning margins in constituencies lying in the North Telangana region (Kamareddy, Adilabad and Ghanpur) and the remaining three seats in South Telangana. Barring BJP candidate, all the winners have been re-elected after resigning their membership of the Assembly.

The Kovur result is a shot in the arm for the YSR Congress as it came at a time when Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is facing a slew of corruption charges filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Its timing is also significant since he is revving up the cadre for the more arduous task of fighting by-elections to 17 Assembly constituencies, and the Nellore Lok Sabha seat later this year.

Congress candidates stood in the second place in four seats and the TDP in two. TDP candidates also forfeited their security deposits in Kamareddi, Mahabubnagar and Nagarkurnool. Yet, their leaders were largely unfazed, having resigned themselves to the impact of the pro-Telangana sentiment in six seats and the Jagan factor in one. The Congress leaders had themselves to blame for the debacle since its leaders did not campaign wholeheartedly. In the case of the BJP, its leaders feel that their pro-Telangana stand is vindicated again as also their decision to field a candidate against the TRS.