People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 23, 2006
ANDHRA PRADESH PANCHAYAT RAJ ELECTIONS
CPI(M) Increases Its Strength, Vote-Wise And Seat-Wise
M Venugopala Rao
IN the two-phase elections held to zilla parishads and mandal parishads in Andhra Pradesh, the CPI(M) increased its strength both vote-wise and seat-wise. The CPI(M) won 27 zilla parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTC) and 334 mandal parishad territorial constituencies (MPTC), increasing the votes secured from 7 lakh in the elections to the legislative assembly held in 2004 to 11 lakh now. The CPI(M) got 1.6 per cent of votes in the assembly elections. In the present elections, it increased to 3.1 per cent. The CPI(M) could win the posts of chairperson in 14 mandal parishads. The Party’s representation in the ZPs and mandal parishads extended from three districts earlier to seven districts now.
As assessed earlier, the Congress scored a good victory, winning 675 ZPTCs and 8215 MPTCs, besides capturing the posts of chairperson in 18 zilla parishads. The Congress had seat adjustment with the CPI and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. The three parties put together got 50.1 per cent votes – the Congress 46.8 per cent, the CPI 1.3 per cent and the TRS 2 per cent. The Congress increased its voting strength by 8 per cent compared to the votes it secured in the assembly elections. The votes the Congress secured in these elections increased by 15 per cent in Telangana, by 8 per cent in Rayalaseema and by 2 per cent in coastal Andhra. One of the reasons for the increase in the votes secured by the Congress is that, contrary to its seat adjustment with three parties in the assembly elections, it contested in majority of the seats this time. It could gain the support of a substantial part of the electorate which had earlier supported the TRS. The ruling party misused its position of power in a systematic manner, besides using the allurements of caste, money and liquor on a large scale. The capturing of the chairmanship of Anantapur zilla parishad by the Congress by buying two ZPTC members belonging to the Telugu Desam Party, which secured a majority, is the height of the misdeeds of the ruling party. It is told that even in winning the Khammam ZP chairmanship through drawing of lots, the Congress had resorted to manipulation.
The chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy claimed that the Congress could win in these two districts by the grace of god. His trying to cover up the misdeeds is nothing but ridiculing democracy. Though the Congress could secure good results in these elections, there is a sense of disappointment in the party as the results are not up to its expectations.
Though the seats secured by the TDP are lesser compared to the results of the panchayat raj elections in 2001, there is a sense of new enthusiasm in the party’s circles as it could win more seats than expected. The TDP and the CPI(M) had seat adjustments in these elections in 11 districts fully and in 6 districts partially. The TDP could secure 39.6 per cent votes, while the CPI(M) got 3.1 per cent votes. The TDP could increase the votes it secured by 1.5 per cent in coastal Andhra and by 5 per cent in Telangana, besides retaining its support base in Rayalaseema as it is. The weakening of the TRS and the BJP had helped the TDP to some extent to improve its strength in Telangana. The TDP secured 347 ZPTCs and 6121 MPTCs, besides winning the posts of chairperson in two ZPs and of vice chairperson in two other ZPs. The TDP suffered severe losses in the coastal districts of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam.
Having seat adjustments with the Congress, the CPI could increase its strength seat-wise by winning 15 ZPTCs and 254 MPTCs. It could get the posts of vice chairperson in two ZPs and of chairperson in 14 mandal parishads. However, compared to the 1.6 per cent votes it could secure in the assembly elecions, this time the CPI could secure 1.3 per cent votes only.
The TRS won 25 ZPTCs and 374 MPTCs, besides getting the chairmanship of a ZP and the posts of vice chairperson in two ZPs. As a result of factional conflicts in the party and treachery of the Congress, despite having seat adjustment, the TRS suffered very badly, with the votes polled by it slumping to 6.1 per cent compared to 18.8 per cent votes it secured in the assembly elections.
Having contested on its own, the BJP could win two ZPTCs and 134 MPTCs only. The votes it secured decreased further from 2.6 per cent in the assembly elections to 0.9 per cent now. Its hopes of securing good results in the Telangana area by championing the issue of separate Telangana state are belied. CPI(ML) New Democracy could win 2 ZPTCs, while the BSP, which had 3 ZPTCs earlier, could not win even one seat.