The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh won the by-election to the Nandyal assembly constituency in Kurnool district by a huge margin of 27,466 votes over the YSR Congress, its closest rival.While TDP candidate Bhuma Brahmanand Reddy polled 97,066 votes, his YSR Congress counterpart – Silpa Mohan Reddy – managed just 69,610. Congress candidate Abdul Khader lost his deposit by garnering a paltry 1,382 votes.The by-election, necessitated by the sudden death of sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy in March this year, was held on August 23. The votes were counted on Monday.While the TDP went with Brahmanand, who happens to be Nagi Reddy’s nephew, the YSR Congress threw its lot behind Mohan Reddy – who defected from the ruling party’s ranks after being denied a ticket at the eleventh hour. Both the parties put up a bitter fight for the seat because the bypoll was considered a referendum on the Chandrababu Naidu government’s performance in the state, besides a prelude to the assembly elections slated for April 2019. Both Naidu and YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy campaigned extensively for their respective party candidates. Reddy even camped at Nandyal for 13 days, and launched a scathing attack against Naidu. The YSR Congress chief’s controversial comment that the chief minister be shot dead on the streets landed him in trouble with the Election Commission, which ordered that criminal cases be filed against him.The TDP cadre celebrated their party’s victory in the bypoll by bursting crackers and distributing sweets. When asked to comment on the results of the Nandyal bypoll, Naidu said the people had once again shown confidence in his promise of development, public welfare and good governance. “Voters have rejected the Opposition’s vicious hate-speech politics. Muslims, along with all sections, voted for the TDP in large numbers,” he added.The chief minister said similar results will be witnessed in the future, as long as his government continues to take the country ahead on the development plank. Akhila Priya, Nagi Reddy’s daughter and Andhra tourism minister, said there was nothing unexpected about the electoral results. “We were sure of victory right from the start. We thank the people of Nandyal for reposing faith on the ruling party. This is a vote for the development activities taken up by the Chandrababu Naidu government,” she added.However, Mohan Reddy termed it as the victory of money power. “The TDP leadership pumped in money to lure voters. Sympathy for Bhuma’s family also worked in their favour. Nevertheless, I respect the people’s verdict,” he said.