Nowadays, catching the pulse of an intelligent Voters became a herculean task. If you able to catch the pulse  you will be a winner. This mantra is adopting the political strategist in the present days to make win of any political party. In the case of Andhra Pradesh,  after winning the Atmakur by-elections the ruling party is sailing on cloud-nine. This is a big mistake, as political observers feel the frequent change in voters mood. Hence the party which is in majority has to think twice before it takes any further public action.

In this scenario, whatever be the reason necessitating by-polls, the ruling party will usually have the last laugh. If the ruling party gets one lakh plus majority of votes over its nearest rival, it might be seen as a comfortable win. The case of the Atmakur Assembly segment that went to by- poll following the sudden death of the sitting legislator and a Minister in the Andhra Pradesh government is a bit peculiar.

These days, widows of deceased legislators are deemed to be political heirs. There have been many instances of opportunity being provided to the wives of deceased members in the Telugu states. On some occasions, sons and daughters are considered to be successors of departed leaders. After the sudden death of Mekapati Goutam Reddy (son of former MP M. Rajamohan Reddy), Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, during his visit to the deceased members house, offered YSRC party ticket to the wife of Gowtham Reddy and assured her of a thumping victory. Both Jagan and his wife Bharati Reddy had jointly made this offer. But the family members of Gowtham Reddy had their way and chose to make the younger brother of Gowtham Reddy as YSRC candidate for the Atmakur by-poll.

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The family members showed their aversion to the party falling back on their daughter-in-law for taking forward the legacy of the family. Normally, the Chief Minister’s word is final in such matters. The Mekapati family succeeded in having their way in the selection of candidate for the Atmakur by-poll. All went well and the candidate emerged victorious with a majority of 82,000 votes, though party leaders and cadre had been confident of getting a majority of one lakh votes.

The Atmakur bypoll was held without the participation of the principal opposition party on the understanding that, in the case of death of a Member of Legislative Assembly, the resultant by-polls should be held unopposed as per the ‘custom’ followed by political parties. Some say this practice only helps destroy the spirit of democracy.

The Telugu Desam Party showed its reluctance to participate in the Atmakur by-polls. But the Bharatiya Janata Party came forward to try its luck and lost its deposit. Losing deposit in any election is considered as the most humiliating defeat. Still, the BJP is crowing that it got a better tally of votes this time! The larger question is: What would have happened had TDP participated?

In fact, the ruling YSRC did not get votes like on previous occasions. Polling was peaceful and completed by 5.00 pm sharp. The outcome of this by-poll would have been seen as a precursor to YSRCP retaining power in the 2024 General Election had the party won the seat by a majority of one lakh plus votes. The absence of TDP did not come in handy for the ruling party.

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Naturally the results of by-polls come in favour of the family of deceased member. But on some rare occasions, there could be a tilt towards the Opposition. In March 1997, during the regime of Chandrababu Naidu in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh, Naidu’s cabinet colleague Gottipati Hanumanta Rao, holding the Civil Supplies portfolio, died of illness. His son, Narasaiah, got elected from the Martur Asssembly segment of Prakasam district, achieving one lakh plus majority. This victory had sent positive signals for the then government headed by Naidu.

The YSRC government is feeling the heat of its programme of bringing its achievements to every doorstep, with legislators being cornered by people over many grievances. Few members are exempted from this mass contact programme. This is causing a lot of uneasiness among leaders of the ruling party, some of whom are losing their cool while facing irate members of the public.

For example, a former minister (since dropped from the cabinet) recently reacted very seriously towards a youth for questioning him about the loans obtained by the AP government to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crores of rupees. The MLA issued a strong warning to that young man stating that it was unnecessary for the latter. He ordered the local inspector to file a criminal case against that youth for levelling corruption charges on him, after conducting an enquiry. This incident drew much criticism as questioning of the local MLA attracted such ‘punishment’ for a commoner. Pruning the list of beneficiaries of welfare schemes is also causing unrest among people.

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Continuous rise in prices of essential commodities is becoming unbearable for the poor and the middle class people. The by-polls for two Assembly segments of Kaikalur (Krishna district) and Kovur (Nellore district) in 1993 had created a sensation in the politics of AP in those days with the Congress as the ruling party.

These by-polls had given signals to possible ‘Tsumami’ to be created by Telugu Desam Party in subsequent elections of 1994 in which then ruling Congress could not even get the status of principal opposition in the Assembly. The ruling YSRC, having expressed its resolve to be in power for 30 years, should have focused on getting majority of one lakh votes in Atmakur for sending positive signals to people.

Now people excluded from the lists of lists of beneficiaries of various schemes are sore. About 51,000 mothers are unhappy at being excluded from the prestigious ‘Amma Vodi’ scheme. Such incidents will have a negative impact on the government in the days to come. #hyderabadnews #KhabarLive #hydnews