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Win in MLC polls gives TDP a breather

Although the TDP tried to project the poll results as a referendum against YSRCP, the MLC elections also to a great extent require electoral strategising.

Anindita Chowdhury | Hyderabad |


Winning three MLC seats in graduate constituency has offered TDP, the main Opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, the much needed breathing space and the surprise defeat came as a rude awakening for the ruling YSRCP that it cannot afford to write off the wily strategist N Chandrababu Naidu prior to elections in the state slated for next year.

Although the ruling party managed to win both the teachers’ constituencies and the four seats under local bodies in the recent MLC elections it floundered badly when it came to the three graduates constituencies – Uttar Andhra, East and West Rayalaseema, considered to be the bastion of YSRCP.

Quick to seize upon the opportunity, Naidu claimed that anti-incumbency was brewing among the people and the YSRCP would soon disappear into oblivion. “The election results reflect the inconceivable pain of a government employee, the suffering of a farmer, the underprivileged, the common man and the student, over-burdened with rising prices,” he said following the victory and attributed the win to the people. Almost 108 Assembly constituencies of the total 175 seats were covered under the three MLC graduate constituencies.

The surprise win of TDP candidate Bhumireddy Ramagopal Reddy who hails from Pulivendula in West Rayalaseema graduate constituency was a sweet revenge for Naidu after the ruling YSRCP did its best to hound him out of Kuppam, his home constituency in recent times. Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy hails from Pulivendula in Kadapa district.

It is quite well known that educated middle class, particularly in the caste driven politics of Andhra Pradesh are not happy with the YSRCP, particularly over the bad roads, slow pace of industrialisation and lack of a capital city even after nearly ten years of bifurcation of the state.

But at the same time they do not form the vote bank of the ruling party. It is the SCs, STs, minorities and the economically backward classes, particularly the women which have benefited from YSRCP’s social welfare schemes and are beneficiaries of the direct transfer of subsidies to their bank accounts. This was pointed out by Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, a close aide of the chief minister who said the actual beneficiaries of the welfare schemes were not voters in these polls.

Although the TDP tried to project the poll results as a referendum against YSRCP, the MLC elections also to a great extent require electoral strategising. The TDP entered an understanding with Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) a platform of independents to ensure the second preference votes went to TDP to keep the anti YSRCP votes intact and it paid off.

However, the results also gave the message to the Opposition that if the parties can form a pre-poll alliance, it would be quite a fight and not the one sided one that Reddy’s camp has been projecting so far.

The Chief Minister is aware of it and challenged the Opposition to fight all 175 seats without an alliance in a public meeting in NTR district today. “You are my confidence and you will only take me forward, hand holding me. I will not run after alliances as I don’t believe in them,” he said to his supporters.