TRS faces setback; Congress, TDP make inroads (Roundup)

June 1st, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad/New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), seeking separate statehood for Telangana region, suffered a setback, retaining only two of its four Lok Sabha and seven of the 16 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, according to results of by-elections declared Sunday. The party could retain only the Karimnagar and Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seats, losing Warangal to the state’s main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Adilabad to the ruling Congress. TRS finished third in the two parliamentary constituencies it lost.

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 nine assembly constituencies.

The TRS could retain only seven assembly seats while the TDP, regaining lost ground in the region, wrested four seats and the Congress snatched five seats from the TRS.

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

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

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

In all, the Congress won six and TDP five assembly seats.

The results had their immediate impact with TRS chief and former central minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who retained the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat, though with a narrow majority of 15,000 votes, offering to resign from the party post.

However, TRS workers gathered outside his residence here to appeal him not to quit and some even threatened to self-immolate.

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

Congress leader M. 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 key to winning over the people. The Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy government has delivered well. There was no anti-incumbency,” said Moily.

The results sparked celebrations in the Congress and TDP camps. While the Congress termed it as vote for development, TDP said people expressed confidence in the party.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said people rejected the politics of emotions and backed the development works taken up his government. “It is victory of Telangana people. They showed that Telangana sentiment is not the property of TRS,” he said.

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu said it was a moral victory for his party and expressed the confidence that the party would return to power in next year’s elections.

Coming to the results, Vinod Kumar of the TRS was re-elected from the Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seat, defeating Konda Surekha of the Congress by a margin of over 55,000 votes.

Dayakar Rao of the TDP wrested the Warangal Lok Sabha seat from the TRS. Rao was elected with a lead of 4,289 votes over his Congress rival.

N. Indrakiran Reddy of the Congress was elected from the Adilabad parliamentary constituency with a margin of 50,674.

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

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

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 only retain Siddipet and Dommat in Medak district, Huzurabad, Kamlapur and Medaram in Karimnagar district, Chiryal in Warangal and Aler in Nalgonda district.

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

P. Vishuvardhan Reddy of the Congress was elected with a margin of over 143,000 votes in Khairatabad in the state capital. The seat fell vacant due to death of his father and senior leader P. Janardhan Reddy.

TDP had not fielded any candidate from the constituency while the Congress reciprocated by not contesting against the TDP candidate in Terlam in Vizianagaram district. It was the only constituency to go to the by-polls outside Telangana.

T. Lakshmi Naidu of TDP was elected with a majority of 40,000 votes in the by-elections caused by his father’s death.

The prominent winners in the assembly by-elections include former ministers K. Srihari and T. Srinivas Yadav, both of TDP, former chief minister T. Anjaiah’s widow T. Maniamma and Mallu Ravi of the Congress.

Those who were defeated include G. Vijayrama Rao, N. Narsimha Reddy (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 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 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 to the general elections.

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