ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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TDP Victory in AP: Real Test Yet to Come

Are the results of the February by-elections truly to be taken as a referendum on Chandrababu Naidu's policies? That is the government's view, but the real test, however, will be the panchayat elections to be finally held in June this year.

Vet another victory for the ruling Telugu Desam Party. On February 24, in the by-elections in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP candidate Kondreddy Vijayamma was elected from Badvel constituency (Cuddapah district) defeating her Congress rival Sivaramakrishna by an impressive margin of 19,000 votes. Likewise, the other TDP woman candidate, P Sai Kalpana Reddy was elected from the Giddalur assembly constituency (Prakasam district) trouncing her Congress rival by a margin of 25,000 votes. These bypolls were necessitated by the deaths of two MLAs, both TDP representatives, K Veera Reddy in Badvel and Vijaykumar Reddy in Giddalur. For the main rival of the TDP in the state, the Congress Party, the stakes were high. Optimistically, the state Congress unit president, M Satyanarayana Rao, who canvassed actively, had ventured to say that these polls should be treated as a referendum of the ruling party’s policies and programmes, including the unpopular hefty hike in power tariff.

Held in the wake of the equally bold statement made by the chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu, in Dubai that “the people of Andhra Pradesh are with me strengthening my hands in effecting reforms”, these elections were taken by both parties to be a test of the ruling party’s schemes. For the opposition party, an indication that a section of the people was against Naidu’s policies was the postponing of the long overdue panchayat elections on various pretexts.1  Both the ruling TDP and the Congress Party (with 91 representatives in the house) went into the election campaign with Naidu and the Congress legislature party leader, Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, as the key campaigners for their candidates. Naidu’s campaign centred mainly around developmental activities undertaken by the state government such as the completion of the Telugu Ganga project that would irrigate the constituency. On the other hand, the opposition stressed the drawbacks of the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the government, high power tariffs, lack of remunerative prices for agricultural products, all measures that should logically have had a political cost.

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