The ruling Congress party had an upper hand in the first phase of the gram panchayat elections held on Tuesday, in which elections were held in 523 gram panchayats.

Of them, 43 sarpanch candidates were elected unopposed while elections were held for the remaining 480 gram panchayats.

According to reports, the Congress party supporters won in as many as 178 panchayats as sarpanches while Telugu Desam Party supporters won sarpanch posts in 132 panchayats.

Win a surprise

Surprisingly, the YSR Congress, believed to be a non-entity in the district, won 98 gram panchayat chief posts. BJP bagged 19 sarpanch posts while TRS captured 13 sarpanch posts and the remaining was taken by independents and other parties.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Information and Public Relations, D.K. Aruna, could retain her hegemony on Gadwal assembly constituency in the district where candidates supported by her won in 45 gram panchayats out of the 84 gram panchayat to which elections were held in the constituency. Of the 7 gram panchayats where sarpanch candidates were unanimously elected, 6 candidates belong to the Congress party. But, the strength of the YSR Congress cannot be underestimated in this home constituency of the Minister as the party led by her nephew, B. Krishna Mohan Reddy, captured 35 sarpanch posts.