YSR leads Congress to renewed mandate in Andhra Pradesh (Night Lead)

May 17th, 2009 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s magic worked once again as the Congress Saturday retained power in Andhra Pradesh with a comfortable majority.
Facing a united opposition alliance and the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of superstar Chiranjeevi, YSR emerged victorious and achieved the distinction of being the only Congress leader after 1982 to lead the party to a second consecutive term.

Three days after becoming the first chief minister in the state’s history to complete a full five years in office, YSR surprised all by leading the party to power despite the glamour of Chiranjeevi and free television and cash transfer scheme promises of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP)

With the party crossing the magic figure of 148 on its own, it does not need any party’s support to form the government again.

The Congress bagged 157 seats as results of all 294 assembly seats were announced Saturday.

YSR termed the results the “people’s victory” and vowed to continue welfare and development schemes, especially construction of irrigation projects.

The newly-elected legislators of the Congress will meet May 19 to elect YSR as the leader. He will take oath as the chief minister May 20, party sources said.

TDP-led four-party grand alliance won 106 seats.

Improving its position, TDP won 91 seats while Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) returned a disastrous performance winning only 10 seats. The Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the other constituents of the alliance, together won five seats.

PRP, which made its electoral debut, bagged 18 seats, far below its expectations. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) got seven seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) two seats. Others, including independents, won four seats.

Despite the defeat of nearly a dozen ministers, state Congress chief D. Srinivas and speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy, YSR proved that there was no anti-incumbency factor against the government.

Unlike the TDP, which promised free color television and cash doles for the poor, the Congress sought votes on the basis of welfare and development works it undertook during the last five years.

YSR, who led the party to a landslide win in 2004 ending nearly a decade long rule of the TDP, had promised to continue free electricity to farmers, the ambitious ‘Jalayagnam’ or building of irrigation projects, Rajiv Arogyasri or the community health insurance scheme, housing for poor, old age and widow pension, scholarships and fee reimbursement to students belonging to weaker sections and rice at Rs.2 a kg.

The initial trends indicated that the state was heading for its first-ever hung assembly but the ruling party improved its position as the counting progressed.

The TDP-led alliance has performed far below its expectations. The TDP, which had lost power to Congress in 2004 polls, had hoped to return to power with an alliance with the TRS and the two Left parties.

TRS, which had contested 2004 polls in alliance with Congress, had won 26 seats.

The two Left parties had together bagged 13 seats. TDP, however, improved its position to 91 from the 45 seats it won in the previous election.

In the 2004 elections, Congress had bagged 185 assembly seats on its own. Its allies, including the TRS, CPI and CPI-M had won 40 seats.

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