People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 25

June 24, 2012



Landslide Victory for YSR Congress


N S Arjun


IT was an expected victory for the YSR Congress party in the June 12 bypolls held to 18 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh. But what was unexpected for most was the landslide nature of the victory. In many seats, the combined votes of Congress and TDP were still short of the votes polled by the winning YSR Congress candidates. Percentage wise, YSR Congress polled an impressive 46.85 per cent of the total votes while Telugu Desam came second 24.23 per cent and ruling Congress third with 21.84 per cent votes.


The YSR Congress has won 15 assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat while Congress had to be content with just two seats and the TRS with a narrow win over YSR Congress nominee in the lone seat in Telangana. The main opposition party, the Telugu Desam, drew a blank. Both the Congress and the TDP are fully disappointed by the results because they strived hard to win at least four or five seats.


These bye-elections were necessitated because 17 Congress MLAs were disqualified by the Speaker after they voted against the Congress government in the no-confidence motion moved by the TDP. Chiranjeevi resigned from Tirupati assembly seat after he was made Rajya Sabha member by the Congress post merger of his party, Praja Rajyam, into the Congress. Nellore Lok Sabha member also resigned from his seat and Congress party and joined the YSR Congress party. Of these 18 assembly seats, 17 are in Coastal-Rayalaseema region while one falls in Telangana.


In six assembly seats, YSR Congress polled more than 50 per cent of votes cast. Except in one seat, its victory margins are all above 15,000 votes. The Nellore Lok Sabha seat was won by that party over Congress nominee with a margin of around 2.9 lakh votes. These elections marked a severe erosion of the base of mainly Congress party and to some extent of TDP also. The TDP has utterly failed to utilise the anti-government anger among the people whereas YSR Congress could effectively channelise this anger into votes for itself. These elections also mark a trend of multi-polarity in state politics, which is set to gain further momentum in the coming period. Earlier, this trend was seen in the form of emergence of Praja Rajyam party and now after its merger in Congress, this trend is reflected in the strengthening of YSR Congress.




Reacting to these results, both the Congress and the TDP sought to downplay the outcome by crediting the win of YSR Congress to sympathy factor for YSR’s family following Jagan’s arrest by CBI in the midst of election campaign. But this would be half-truth. No doubt, Jagan’s mother Y S Vijayamma and sister Sharmila’s campaign pitch after Jagan’s arrest was aimed at garnering sympathy votes, the final outcome is also a reflection of strong anti-government anger prevailing among the people. For the last two years or more, the Congress government is drifting without any sense of purpose or direction. It is bogged down by internal squabbles, fights over spoils etc. But it has been resolute in one aspect – cutting down welfare schemes and burdening people with power tariff hike, petrol price hike, user charges hike etc. Its ambivalent stand on the issue of Telangana has also resulted in anger among people across regions.


Ideally, a vertical divide in the ruling party, combined with prevalence of strong anti-incumbency factor, should have been a boon for the main opposition party. But the Telugu Desam could not win even a single seat in these bye-elections. It stood second in nine seats, third in three seats and lost deposits in five seats. It has also lost 11 per cent of its vote. TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s focus – as also the Congress party’s – in the campaign has only been on Jagan’s corruption. But the results show that not only the poor, even the middle classes have not taken this as a major issue. The refrain seems to be: ‘everyone is corrupt; at least YSR did something for us through his schemes.’  The opportunistic stance of the TDP on Telangana issue has also contributed to the erosion of its electoral base.


As for social communities, Reddys, Malas (SC) and Muslims have by and large supported the YSR Congress while Kapu community has remained with Chiranjeevi who merged his PRP with the Congress. It remains to be seen whether they will remain with it in the coming period.




This seat in Warangal district in Telangana region witnessed a five-cornered contest with Congress, BJP and TDP standing as fifth, fourth and third respectively. TRS won over YSR Congress with a narrow margin of 1500 votes. The TRS polled 33.02 per cent votes against 32.03 per cent of the YSR Congress. The Congress, with a mere 3.2 per cent of the vote, finished at the bottom. Although the margin of victory is less, it cannot be said, as some have begun saying now, that it shows a weakening of Telangana sentiment in the region. But what has come out in this is that TRS is not the lone champion of that sentiment. TRS is apprehensive that in the coming period, YSR Congress may find some more support in Telangana region by roping in strong local leaders of the Congress party.


Although the BJP contested in 11 seats in this election, it focussed mainly on Parakala seat with its state leadership camping there for many days. They even got leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj to campaign for them in this seat. It hoped that after its victory over TRS in Mahbubnagar seat in the previous bye-election, it could cash in here. But the result disappointed it severely as it lost deposit in Parakala as also in the remaining 10 seats it contested.


The CPI(M) contested in five assembly seats and Nellore Lok Sabha constituency. It supported Lok Satta party in five seats and MCPI in Parakala. The highest votes it got was in Anantapur assembly seat where it polled over 5000 votes. In other seats the votes were on expected lines given the strength of the Party in those areas. The CPI(M) focussed on people’s issues in its campaign.


It appears the situation of political uncertainty is set to continue in the state. There is talk of defection of more elected representatives from Congress and TDP into YSR Congress party. But neither Congress nor TDP MLAs are keen for an early election. There is also speculation about change in government leadership after presidential poll. Telangana Congress leaders are clamouring for division of state to retain Congress hold at least in Telangana region. Telangana political Joint Action Committee is also chalking out programmes to once again intensify its agitation for separate Telangana state. It remains to be seen what shape political developments take in the coming period.