Special Correspondent

Naidu attributes debacle to split in anti-incumbency vote

Says Praja Rajyam and Lok Satta ate into TDP votes

Also, Grand Alliance partners won only 15 of the 73 seats

HYDERABAD: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday asserted that the Congress has won the recent elections by default and not by positive vote.

In his first elaborate reaction to verdict 2009, Mr. Naidu used his inaugural address at the party’s Mahanadu here to rubbish the Congress argument and reminded it that it had gained from the three-way split in the vote against it among the Grand Alliance, the Praja Rajyam and the Lok Satta.

“If we had made little more effort in convincing people that such a split would help the Congress, the situation would have been different,” he said while arguing that the two new parties ended up helping the Congress with their vote shares of 16.22 per cent and 1.8 per cent eating into the TDP vote.

Sense of loss

The mood at Imperial Gardens, the venue of the Mahanadu, was not so enthusiastic though it was awash in yellow and the attendance good. A sense of loss pervaded the place. Delegates kept walking in and out even as Mr. Naidu spoke while groups of leaders were locked in discussion on what had gone wrong.

Mr. Naidu said the Congress seemed to gloat over 36.7 per cent vote it got, forgetting that 63 per cent of voters have voted against it. It was for the first time ever that a government was formed on such a low vote percentage. The difference in vote share between the Grand Alliance and the Congress was a mere 1.75 per cent; yet while the Congress lost 45 seats, the TDP gained as many.

It only showed that people wanted the TDP in the Assembly but the party missed the chance owing to split in anti-incumbency vote. Another reason was poor show by Grand Alliance partners as they managed to win only 15 of the 73 seats they were allotted.