Congress leaders from Telangana are stunned at the strong undercurrent in favour of statehood that swept away ruling party candidates in all the 12 Assembly constituencies in the bye-elections.

Leaders, right from the APCC president D. Srinivas, admit that the margins of victory of the TRS and the BJP candidates was something they never anticipated.

“We did understand the mood of the voters but never realised that the undercurrent would be so strong,” the APCC president is said to have remarked to his close aides after his second successive defeat at the hands of BJP's Y. Lakshminarayana in Nizamabad Urban constituency.

As these leaders began a post mortem of the results, some Telangana Congress leaders tried to shift the blame for the debacle on others. These leaders claimed that the real victor was ‘Telangana slogan' while the loser was the Telugu Desam Party.

Congress Working Committee member K. Keshava Rao discussed the debacle with party MPs Ponnam Prabhakar and Sircilla Rajaiah, who called on him on Saturday. Similarly, former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy met Mr. Srinivas at the latter's residence to review the party's electoral debacle. Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy also met the PCC chief separately.

Sources said the party chief told them that given the overwhelming support for the candidates who had sacrificed their seats, it was an uphill task for the Congress to win the elections. He believed to have remarked that the high command has to take a note of the results.

Meanwhile, former Minister S. Santosh Reddy demanded that the APCC president should tender his resignation to the party post and wanted the central leadership to concede separate State.