The recent victorious results of elections to the zilla praja parishads and mandal praja parishads in Andhra Pradesh have triggered these vital questions among sections of the public. Does the outcome of Parishad polls truly reflect his/her original opinion today? Given the Parishad results in Andhra Pradesh, can anybody in the state feel today the happiness?
This is because there have been many developments that could have influenced the minds of people during the period of five and half months from the date of polling to the declaration of results following legal wrangling!
These developments include deteriorating financial position of Andhra Pradesh due to unprecedented debt burden and the decision to collect ‘true up’ charges as part of electricity bills of people for power they used between 2014 and 2019.
There is no doubt that it is an impressive win for the ruling YSR Congress party. The grand victory is attributed to the freebies given by the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government, which deposited Rs.1.05 lakh crore into the bank accounts of beneficiaries of various welfare schemes across the state.
The welfare payouts contributed to the unhealthy fiscal position and the collection of true up charges has put a huge burden on people to the tune of Rs. 3700 cr. Mind you, these problems were not there at the time of the Parishad elections in April, 2021. Five and a half months have made a lot of difference to change public perception. This is not to belittle the scale of YSRCP’s victory in the Parishad polls.
The boycott of Parishad elections by the Telugu Desam Party is another factor that contributed to the spectacular victory of YSRCP. Of course, the TDP chose to boycott the Parishad polls mainly because of the plethora of unanimous elections (allegedly due to the highhandedness of ruling party) and its fears that Parishad polls could be an encore of the Gram Panchayat polls that the YSRC swept earlier.
The ruling party has now started a mind game suggesting that TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu’s image has been tattered, considering that YSRCP has bagged all ZPTCs even in the Kuppam Assembly segment in the TDP chief’s native district of Chittoor.
In fact, TDP has been on winning spree there ever since Chandrababu set his foot there in 1989. Certainly it is a bitter experience for a senior politician and three-time Chief Minister like Naidu. But the change in the political situation in the time between the two elections cannot be denied by anyone.
In the Nandigama Assembly segment (general seat then) of Krishna district, all the four ZPTCs had been bagged by then opposition Congress in the 2001 local bodies’ polls.
Former minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao was MLA of then ruling TDP and his arch rival Vasanta Krishna Prasad was in charge of Congress in that constituency.
But by the time of subsequent elections for the Assembly in 2004, Devineni retained his seat, raising eyebrows in political circles. In the general election for the Siddipet (SC) Lok Sabha constituency in 1996, Congress candidate Nandi Yellaiah got a lead of 40,000 votes over TDP nominee in the Medchal Assembly segment represented by then Home Minister in Naidu’s cabinet T. Devendar Goud that rang danger bells for him in future.
But he retained the same seat in the subsequent Assembly polls in 1999. The Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS) won all the four ZPTCs in the Balkonda Assembly segment represented by Congress MLA K.R. Suresh Reddy in the 2001 local bodies’ polls.
But Suresh Reddy retained his seat in the subsequent elections of 2004 and became Speaker of Assembly of the combined State of Andhra Pradesh.
Political situations change, depending on combinations and the parties’ individual strength.
In the 1999 Assembly elections, the Congress party could not emerge victorious as per its high expectations under the leadership of Dr.Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy in Andhra Pradesh.
The Congress’ hopes were dashed due to the powerful combination of TDP-BJP in the post Kargil war situation. The Congress lost the opportunity to attain power despite having a vote share of 43%, while TDP (33%) &BJP (18%) combine jointly bagged the majority vote share (51%). Interestingly, in the neighbouring Karnataka, the Congress emerged victorious with 38% of votes share under the leadership of SM Krishna, who became Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s natural choice for the Chief Minister’s post.
This development pained YSR much. He told this correspondent then: “We got no opportunity, despite having highest percentage of votes of 43%. This should be a lesson for us to set target for ourselves getting 51% of total votes.”
In the 2009 Assembly polls, the Grand Alliance of TDP, TRS and Left parties could not stop YSR from retaining power with 156 Assembly seats out of 294.
Former Chief Minister Jalagam Vengal Rao breasted strong political currents when he was Congress’ nominee for the Khammam Lok Sabha seat in 1984.
The entire Opposition, under guidance of Chief Minister &TDP supremo NT Rama Rao, worked hard to decimate JVR. But he emerged victorious with a margin of 59,000 votes against the combined candidate of Opposition Parsa Satyanarayana of CPI.
He became Union Minister for Industries in the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet later. So, combinations and visible political strength may not work always.
Psephologists believe that 20% of voters go to the polling station with undecided mind and they play a decisive role in determining the fate of candidates. Hence, political parties make it a point to influence vacillating voters.
Although YSRC has emerged victorious in more than 90% of the seats, there is no guarantee that the present atmosphere would continue till the next elections.
Sensing this, Chandrababu Naidu has thrown a challenge to Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy to dissolve the House and go for immediate elections to the Assembly. Other opposition parties like Jana Sena, BJP and Left parties have also been decimated in the Parishad polls.
Yet, the issues the opposition parties are highlighting –true up charges, privatisation of VSP, selling of government’s stake in the Gangavaram Port and precarious conditions of road across the state, among others — are no doubt causing concern for the ruling party leaders and cadre. #KhabarLive #hydnews