Jailed YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy announced his arrival as the fourth force – after the Congress, the Telegu Desam Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti — in Andhra politics on Friday, by sweeping the byelections.
YSR Congress sources said Reddy, who is in jail in a disproportionate assets case, watched his party bagging one Lak Sabha and 15 assembly seats on TV in jail.
His mother, Vijayalakshmi, and sister, Sharmila, who were with him, later described the results as “God’s verdict”. Of the 15 YSR Congress victors, 14 were earlier Congress MLAs. It is only in the Telangana region that the sympathy factor for Jaganmohan could not make a dent. The YSR Congress lost Parkal constituency to the TRS.
The YSR Congress’s Nellore Lok Sabha seat candidate, Mekapati Rajmohan Reddy, also a former Congressman, defeated the Congress candidate by 291,745 votes.
In most of the assembly constituencies, the candidates of the YSR Congress — named after Jaganmohan’s father, former chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy who died in a plane crash in September 2009 — established substantial leads, cashing on the sympathy for Jaganmohan.
The other major reverse for the Congress was its rout in the pilgrim city of Tirupati, which was held by actor Chiranjeevi, who had merged his party, the Praja Rajyam Party, with the Congress. The saving grace for the Congress was its win in two seats in the Godavari delta area, despite Jaganmohan having drawn huge crowds during the poll campaign.
“The YSR Congress is a party of the future as both the Congress and TDP were rejected in the people’s court,” party spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said.