Supporters of YSR Congress party winning nearly 80 posts of sarpanches dismissing the ruling Congress party to the second place with nearly 50 posts and the Telugu Desam to a poor third with about 35 posts in the Agency areas during the first phase of panchayat elections held on Tuesday was a surprise.
The party has no strong or active leader or proper party machinery in place in Agency area but pulled off a victory which might have surprised even its leadership. Incidentally Visakhapatnam is the only second district in the State where YSR Congress stood first during the first phase. The only reason for its success could be the support, not obviously seen so far, for it among the Girijans. Observers say the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, through the individual benefits like housing and Arogyasri, could create an indelible impression among the Girijans that the Indiramma’s party provided them and after Indiramma, they could see the late Chief Minister as their benefactor. Hence the support for the party his family has started with initials of YSR in its name.
The results must have certainly upset the Congress since its Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balaraju hails from the area. Mr. Balaraju, for the last many months, has been inaugurating or launching water supply schemes, roads and buildings for schools and offices all over the Agency, which many observers felt would create a favourable impression for his party. He could only get party supporters elected to majority of posts in his own Paderu Assembly segment.
One of the four MLAs of Telugu Desam in the district is from Araku Valley in the Agency area but it fared poorly even in this segment while lack of unity and cooperation among the leaders like former minister M. Manikumari and son of former MLA MVV Satyanarayana, Prasad caused a lot of damage to the party in Paderu segment. The Left parties have not gone all out in their campaigning in the area.
The only reason for its success could be the support, not obviously seen so far, for it among the Girijans