Alarm bells have started ringing among legislators of Congress and Telugu Desam, with the two major parties drawing a blank in the by-elections to the seven Assembly seats -- a hat-trick in a way during the last three years.

For the third time, they failed to buck the trend that began with by-elections in Telangana in 2010, Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula and Banswada Assembly in 2011 and now in seven segments. Legislators of both parties put up a brave front drawing comfort from the fact that they were able to restrict the margins of TRS in Telangana and YSR Congress in Kovur forgetting that they had indeed lost the seats held by them till recently.

They may not show it, but they looked worried about the prospects of their parties in the by-elections to the 18 constituencies to be held very soon and in 2014 general elections.

The first signal of sudden vulnerability of the Congress was apparent from the way senior party leader D.L. Ravindra Reddy shot off a letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi while expressing concern that Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy could successfully extend his influence beyond Kadapa. Ministers Damodar Rajanarsimha and N. Raghuveera Reddy too acknowledged the fact, but felt such “isolated results” could not be taken as a yardstick for the party's overall performance. The reaction was no different in TDP circles though in muffled tones. The main Opposition legislators concede that it is indeed a wake-up call. While a senior Telangana legislator, M. Narasimhulu, was still hopeful of party regaining the lost ground in Telangana in the next two years by continuously targeting TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, it was not shared by others. They felt the sentiment was so strong that it could even boomerang on the party. They now call for reworking their strategy.

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