The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) swept the by-elections in Telangana region on Friday, winning 11 of the 12 seats. The BJP, which had contested as a TRS ally, bagged the remaining seat.
Political observers said this showed a strong mood in favour of a separate Telangana state and sent out a message to the Justice Sri Krishna Committee, which is looking into the statehood issue and will submit its report by December this year.
While the poll prospects of the TRS — which seeks to create a separate state by carving out 10 districts, including state capital Hyderabad, from Andhra Pradesh — were always bright, the clean sweep has surprised most analysts.
Both the Congress and Telugu Desam Party failed to win a single seat as both have been ambivalent in their stand on Telangana's statehood.
After the win, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to respect the poll verdict and initiate immediate steps for the formation of a separate Telangana state.
"By voting overwhelmingly in support of TRS, they have delivered a verdict in favour of Telangana," he said.
TRS leader Harish Rao won Siddipet, the late Y S R Reddy's seat, by a margin of 95,858 votes, bettering YSR's record.
"The win will boost the movement," Harish Rao declared.
The debacle is creating ripples in the Congress. Supporters of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSR's son, launched a veiled attack on CM K Rosaiah, saying the results could have been different had Rosaiah campaigned.
Jagan Mohan, who has virtually rebelled against Rosaiah, got a boost on Thursday with 28 legislators meeting him at Kakinada to extend support.
But many Congress leaders from Telangana held leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema — including Rosaiah and Reddy — responsible.
In the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a former MLA from Telangana said: "By not taking a stand on Telangana, (Chandrababu) Naidu has made things difficult for us."