New Delhi: The counting of votes in the crucial Andhra Pradesh by-polls began amidst tight security on Friday. Early morning trends revealed Jagan Mohan Reddy's party, the YSR Congress, leading in 15 seats.
The by-polls are a crucial test for YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is currently lodged in jail on charges of corruption. The counting was taken up at 13 centres in the 12 districts in which the constituencies are situated. Elaborate security have been made with the deployment of a 9,000-strong force at the counting centres.
The by-polls were held on Tuesday in 18 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat - Nellore.
The by-polls were necessitated after 18 Congress MLAs and 1 PRP MLA defected to Jagan's party. The Lok Sabha MP from Nellore, Rajmohan Reddy, too left Congress and defected to Jagan's party.
In 2009, the Congress had won 16 of the 18 Assembly seats. However, this time around, things are likely to be different.
Just days before the by-polls, Jagan Reddy was arrested and sent to CBI custody in connection with a disproportionate assets case. The move, seen by many as a plan of the Congress to weaken Jagan's party before the by-polls, is said to have instead fanned passions in his favour. His party projected itself as the political victim of the Congress.
Friday's results are crucial for Jagan as his first major test of strength. The results will have an impact on the stability of the Congress government in the state. The bypolls are also significant for main Opposition Telugu Desam (TDP), as a poor show would demoralise its ranks in the run up to the 2014 elections
YSR Congress: A brief history
- YSR Reddy dies in a helicopter crash in 2009
- K Rosiah is appointed CM
- Jagan demands CM's post after YSR's death
- Jagan defies Congress and goes on yatra in 2009-10
- Congress replaces Rosiah with Kiran Kumar Reddy as CM in 2011
- Jagan breaks from Congress for YSR Congress
- CBI files corruption case against Jagan
- Jagan arrested in May 2012
(With additional information from PTI)