Riding the crest of a strong anti-incumbency wave against the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government and after a nine-year wait, YSR Congress Party leader Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy inched closer to his dream of becoming Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, steering his party to a landslide victory.
According to reports a little past midnight on Thursday, the YSRCP was officially declared as having won 90 Assembly seats and leading in another 60. The TDP won 16 and was leading in eight, while the Jana Sena Party of actor Pawan Kalyan was ahead in one seat. The YSRCP’s vote share was a phenomenal 49.9%, while the TDP’s 39.2%.
The party’s performance was equally impressive in the Lok Sabha election with victories in Eluru, Kakinada, Tirupati and Vizianagaram and a comfortable lead in another 18 of the 25 constituencies, leaving just three for the TDP. The vote shares were: YSRCP 49.2% and TDP 39.67%.
The YSRCP Legislature Party will meet on May 25 to elect Mr. Reddy as the leader. The swearing-in is slated for May 30 in Vijayawada.
Mr. Reddy dedicated the victory to the people, and described the mandate as “historic”. “Among five crore people, God gave opportunity to one person to be CM. I sincerely thank people who voted in large numbers. The mandate comes with tremendous responsibility. I will ensure that the country will look up to the State of Andhra Pradesh. I’ll live up to the expectations. Within six months to one year, I will prove that Jagan is a good CM through good administration,” he said.
A few hours after it became clear that the TDP was heading for a crushing defeat, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu sent in his resignation to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in Hyderabad. At a brief press conference, Mr. Naidu congratulated Mr. Reddy and said the party would analyse the reasons for the debacle. Two national parties — the Congress and the BJP — were nowhere on the scene, while the JSP managed one seat.
The YSRCP’s win was so comprehensive in all regions and among all sections of people that the TDP had no chance to recover anywhere. In almost all the 13 districts, the YSRCP was leading uniformly and was set to bag all the Assembly seats in Kurnool (14) and Kadapa (10, Mr. Reddy’s native district) in Rayalaseema and in Vizianagaram (9) in north coastal Andhra.
At one point, Mr. Naidu himself looked shaky in his Kuppam constituency as his YSRCP rival and former IAS officer, Chandramouli, was ahead at least in two early rounds before the former recovered ground.
Most of Mr. Naidu’s Cabinet Ministers, including his son Lokesh, who held the IT and Panchayat Raj portfolios, are likely to face defeat with YSRCP candidates putting up an impressive performance.
As the news of Mr. Reddy’s grand victory spread, a large number of his supporters gathered at the YSRCP office at Tadepalli in the capital region of Amaravati to celebrate the occasion. A supporter brought a big nameplate, “Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh”.
The voting pattern in favour of Mr. Reddy and against Mr. Naidu indicates that a big anti-incumbency wave swept across Andhra Pradesh.
Mr. Naidu’s hopes of returning to power on the plank of development, the Polavaram irrigation project, construction of capital Amaravati and welfare schemes have been shattered. In contrast, Mr. Reddy’s aggressive campaign against Mr. Naidu’s “misrule,” turning capital construction into real estate business, corruption in irrigation projects and failure in fulfilling election promises, seemed to have had traction with voters.