Setback to TRS in Andhra by-elections (Second Lead)

June 1st, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad/New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) In a setback to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the party could retain only two of its four Lok Sabha seats and is heading for defeat in a majority of 16 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh as more results were announced Sunday of by-elections held Thursday. The sub-regional party could retain only the Karimnagar and Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seats, losing Warangal to main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and was trailing in Adilabad, where the ruling Congress party has established a comfortable lead.

The party, whose legislators had resigned en masse to seek re-election on the issue of separate statehood to the Telangana region, had to bite dust in majority of the assembly seats.

Regaining lost ground in the region, the TDP wrested five seats while the Congress also snatched four seats from the TRS. The result from Musheerabad constituency is yet to be announced.

The Congress and TDP also retained Khairatabad and Terlam assembly seats, respectively. By-elections for these were necessitated by the death of the sitting legislators.

The by-polls to four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly constituencies were held Thursday. The results came as a setback to TRS since the elections were viewed as a referendum on the Telangana issue and the party was expecting to win majority of the seats with the help of pro-Telangana sentiment.

The by-polls are also considered as a semi-final before next year’s elections to the assembly and Lok Sabha.

Expressing the party’s relief, Congress leader Veerappa Moily told IANS in New Delhi: “Karnataka has had no impact on this state (Andhra Pradesh). The results show that the Congress on its own can do better and development is the main concern of the people.”

The Congress had taken up the twin issues of “development and social justice”, Moily said. “Development and good governance are keys to winning over the people. The Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy government has delivered well. There was no anti-incumbency,” said Moily.

TRS chief and former union minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao retained the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat, though with a narrow majority of 15,000 votes. His nearest rival was T. Jeevan Reddy of the Congress party.

Chandrasekhara Rao, known popularly as KCR, had won the Karimnagar by-election last year by over 200,000 votes.

Vinod Kumar of TRS was re-elected from Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seat.

Dayakar Rao of TDP wrested Warangal Lok Sabha seat from TRS while N. Indrakiran Reddy of Congress was leading in Adilabad parliamentary constituency.

Former minister G. Vijayrama Rao was defeated in Station Ghanpur constituency in Warangal district by senior TDP leader Kadiam Srihari.

Except in Siddipet assembly constituency, where T. Harish Rao was re-elected with a majority of over 50,000 votes, victory-margins in other constituencies came down.

TRS suffered setbacks in Warangal, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts, which were considered its strongholds. It also lost both Secunderabad and Musheerabad assembly seats in the state capital and Vikarabad in the neighbouring Ranga Reddy district.

TRS could retain Siddipet and Dommat in Medak district, Huzurabad, Kamlapur and Medaram in Karimnagar district and Aler in Nalgonda district.

It lost Dichpally and Yellareddy in Nizamabad district, Jadcherla (Mahabubnagar) and Vikarabad (Ranga Reddy) to Congress, Station Ghanpur and Chiryal (Warangal) Ramayampet (Medak), Khanapur (Adilabad) and Secunderabad (Hyderabad) to TDP.

The prominent winners in assembly by-elections include former ministers K. Srihari and T. Srinivas Yadav, both of TDP, and Mallu Ravi of Congress. Those who were defeated include G. Vijayrama Rao (TRS), state minister P. Lakshmaiah’s daughter-in-law P. Vaishali and former minister M. Venkateshwara Rao (TDP).

The TRS had fought the 2004 elections in alliance with the Congress party and bagged five Lok Sabha and 26 assembly seats in the region.

While 10 state legislators of the party staged a revolt against KCR’s leadership, MP A. Narendra was expelled from the party last year over his alleged role in a human smuggling scandal.

The TRS, which had joined the Congress-led coalition governments both in the state and at the centre, later pulled out to protest the delay in carving out a separate Telangana state.

Congress leaders, asked whether the by-election results indicate a waning of sentiment for a separate Telangana, refused to comment, saying it was a “delicate issue”.

Had the TRS retained its hold over the Lok Sabha seats it would have signalled that the demand for Telangana could get more edgy in the next one year before the UPA went into the general elections. In fact, it would have given a fillip to the lobby in parliament, seeking a separate state of Vidarbha in Maharashtra.

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