The results of the June 12 byelections, declared on Thursday, indicate a clear trend in state politics with YSRC emerging as an alternative to the ruling Congress, which witnessed a massive erosion of its vote share. The Congress, which had polled 36. 5 percent of popular vote in the 2009 elections, now got only 21.84 percent even after the merger of Praja Rajyam Party with it. In 2009, the PRP got 16 percent vote share.
The YSRC, on the other hand, took 46. 85 percent of the popular vote and won in as many as 15 of the 18 Assembly constituencies that went to polls, while the Congress got only two seats.
The TDP, though unable to win even one seat, managed to get 24.23 percent of the votes polled, against 28 percent in 2009 elections.
While there is fear of defection to YSRC in both Congress and Telugu Desam camps, the risk appears to be more for TDP, which is in the opposition.
In Telangana region too, YSR Congress is coming out as a potent force next only to the TRS, edging out the Congress and the TDP.
Though known to be against division of the state, its nominee K Surekha came very close to winning the Parkal seat in Warangal.
Against TRS candidate M Bhikshapathy, she lost only by a margin of 1,500 votes.
Not counting the BJP’s victory in the Mahbubnagar byelection two months ago, that margin was the nearest any party has come to upsetting the TRS ever since the flare-up of the Telangana sentiment in Dec 2009.
The YSRC, perceived to be an integrationist party, in fact led the vote in Parkal with two rounds of counting to go.
On the stregnth of this showing, the YSRC is likely to attract the following of important social groups in the region, be they presently in the TDP or the Congress, which find the TRS not to their liking.
The huge majorities that YSRC candidates secured sent out the message loud and clear: Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party is the new regional force in the state, elbowing out Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP from that slot, and that the Congress is losing its sheen fast.
The highest margin of victory in the byelections was 56,891 votes in Rayachoti, with YSRC candidate Srikant Reddy bagging the seat.
The Congress lost security deposits in six constituencies and the TDP in five.
The first role for YSRC at the national level will be the presidential elections.
Already, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, who is keen on fielding Abul Kalam for president, called Y S Vijayamma and congratulated her for her party’s victory at the hustings.
The phone call is indicative of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s new clout, with anti- Congress and anti-BJP parties seeing him as a possibly ally in Andhra Pradesh.
According to YSR Congress leader M V Mysoora Reddy, his party is keeping its options open vis a vis the presidential elections. “We will take a decision that would be in the interest our party,” he said.
The Telugu Desam Party is fearing more defections from its ranks, while the Congress hopes that its MLAS might take time to decide because it will be in power for another two years, unless of course political developments lead to a midterm election.
According to Congress sources, the inevitable fallout of the bypoll results would be more chaos in the party, with anti-Kiran forces upping the ante and Telangana Congress leaders increasing pressure for some action on the separate Telangana issue.