Hyderabad: Jagan Mohan Reddy's party, the YSR Congress, crushed its rivals in the Andhra Pradesh by-polls, winning 14 of the 18 Assembly seats. It is leading in one more. Meanwhile, its candidate Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy was leading in the Lok Sabha seat of Nellore, ahead by more than 50,000 votes.
The Congress managed to win two seats. It fared poorly in the 16 others, coming in at third in ten seats, ranking fifth in one and getting its deposits forfeited in five other seats.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is leading in one seat, Parakal.
The YSR Congress grabbed Polavaram, Pratipadu, Macherla, Yemmiganur, Allagada, Rajampet, Rayachoti and Railway Kodur. As results started pouring in, Jagan's mother reached the Chanchalguda prison, where he is currently lodged after being arrested in connection with a disproportionate assets case, to congratulate him. YSR Congress workers burst crackers, shouted slogans and carried party flags in celebration outside the jail.
His sister, Sharmila said, "Jagan is very happy. He was expecting to win all 18... This proves that vindictive politics does not work and it is a lesson for both the TDP and the Congress."
YSR Congress spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said the Congress must resign and go for mid-term polls. "The Congress party is not getting even one seat. The Congress should resign and go for mid term polls."
The by-polls are a crucial test for Jagan 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)