NELLORE: The YSRC registered another landslide victory in the Atmakur bypoll with its candidate, Mekapati Vikram Reddy trouncing BJP’s G Bharat Kumar by a margin of 82,888 votes. This is the third win for the ruling party in a by-election, conducted either for an Assembly seat or a Parliamentary segment, ever since it came to power in 2019.
The bypoll, held on June 23, was necessitated following the demise of the then Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy. While the YSRC fielded Goutham Reddy’s relative, Vikram Reddy, the TDP decided against contesting the election in line with its policy of not challenging the kin of the deceased MLA or MP in bypolls.
Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena also stayed away. However, both the JSP and TDP extended their tacit support to the BJP. The YSRC, which maintained lead in all 20 rounds of counting, secured 1.02 lakh of the 1.37 lakh votes, accounting for almost 75 per cent of the vote share. On the other hand, BJP’s Bharat Kumar won less than 20,000 votes, securing a vote share of 14.1 per cent.
Of the total 14 candidates in fray, all 13 - including BJP’s Bharat Kumar - lost their deposit amount.
In 2019, Goutham Reddy had secured over 92,000 votes against TDP’s Bolineni Krishnaiah, who won more than 70,000 votes. The victory margin was just above 22,000. The BJP, which contested alone, received only 2,314 votes and Jana Sena Party won 2,089 votes.
Even with the support of TDP on the ground-level, the saffron party could not garner as many votes that the yellow party had secured in 2019. Although the voting percentage saw a dip this time, the YSRC recorded more votes in comparison to 2019. Political pundits credit this spike in votes to the sympathy factor.
Meanwhile, party leaders attributed the success to the welfare schemes initiated by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, and stated that the YSRC has, once again, proved that its electoral performance had remained strong and stable. Interestingly, the votes polled for None Of The Above (NOTA), too, went up from 2,161 in 2019 to 4,179 in the by-poll.
The counting was taken up at the Andhra Engineering College in Nellorepalem, Atmakur mandal at 8 am.
The YSRC, which was leading since the first round, secured majority of 15,429 votes in Sangam mandal, followed by Ananthasagaram (14,094), Marripadu (13,073), AS Peta (10,415), Chejarla (10,294), Atmakur rural (10,285) and Atmakur town (9,152). The party also won 146 votes polled through postal ballots.
During his election campaign, Mekapati Vikram Reddy, a first time contender and brought up in a political family, attracted voters in the Assembly constituency by interacting with farmers, agriculture labourers, vendors and other workers involved in menial jobs.
After winning the election, Vikram Reddy asserted that he would strive hard to resolve long-pending issues as envisaged by his brother Goutham Reddy. “We had expected a majority of more than one lakh votes this time, but it was 82,888 votes, as less number of people exercised their franchise,” he noted.
The newly-elected MLA said the party would not pay heed to BJP or other parties’ criticism and continue developing the constituency.
Stating that it was moral victory for the BJP, Bharat Kumar claimed that the ruling party had mobilised all its resources, including money, ministers, MLAs, and senior leaders, to win the polls. “It is a moral victory for us. Our vote share has improved from 1.33 per cent in 2019 to 14.1 per cent in 2022,” he added.