The Congress managed to retain power in Andhra Pradesh only by default as 63.22 per cent of the electorate rejected it, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday said.
Clearly, people did not give their mandate for YS Rajasekhara Reddy or the Congress. They wanted the TDP back but the Grand Alliance lost the race by a margin of just 1.76 per cent votes. While the Congress got 36.78 per cent votes, the Opposition alliance of TDP, TRS, CPM, CPI received 35.2 per cent, he said.
Two-thirds of the voters rejected the Congress while only one-third favoured it in the just concluded Assembly elections, Naidu noted, analysing the poll results at the TDP's two-day annual conference `Mahanadu' that began in Hyderabad.
Had it been a mandate for the Congress, the party should have got 231 Assembly seats (out of total 294), going by the trends in 33 Lok Sabha seats it won in Andhra. It, however, managed only 156 seats, a slender margin over the magic figure of 148, the TDP chief pointed out.
There was no positive vote for the Congress and it retained power not on merit but only by default, he added.
The former CM said there was a gross split in the Opposition votes which prevented TDP's return to power. Praja Rajyam Party of filmstar Chiranjeevi did the main damage, securing 16.22 per cent votes and 18 seats.