Andhra Pradesh by-election, 2012

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By-elections occurred in Andhra Pradesh in March for a Vidhan Sabha seat and on 12 June for Nellore and 18 Vidhan Sabha constituencies following the disqualification of defected members of the Indian National Congress who joined the YSR Congress Party of the former chief minister's son, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy. YSRCP won 16 of the 19 Vidhan Sabha seats and the Lok Sabha seat, while the INC won 2 local seats and the TRS won the final vacancy.

Background[edit]

Andhra Pradesh has had a turbulent last few years in politics with the movement for a separate Telangana gathering steam and the death of former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash. Due to differences with the ruling Indian National Congress, Reddy's son, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, then broke away to form the YSR Congress Party and was joined by several MLAs. Eighteen MLAs were later disqualified, while Nellore's MP resigned. The Vidhan Sabha seat for Tirupati had also been vacant since 2010 when Chiranjeevi, whose Praja Rajyam Party merged with the INC, won a by-election to the Lok Sabha.[1]

Campaign[edit]

Campaigning for the elections stopped on 10 June at 17:00. At that time, the Election Commission mandated non-locals to leave the constituencies going to the polls. Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal directed the police to search all hotels, lodges, guest houses, function halls and residential schools to enforce the rule. The commission also barred the distribution of voter slips by political parties, the sending of bulk SMSes and the publication or broadcast of opinion or exit polls. During the campaign the police also seized a record Rs. 400 million in cash and other valuables.

Y. Jaganmohan Reddy had been arrested and jailed by the Central Bureau of Investigation on 27 May for having "illegal assets" during the campaign process. His mother Y. S. Vijayamma and sister Sharmila accused both the INC and TDP for having targeted Y. Jaganmohan Reddy. Y. S. Vijayamma also pointed at the INC over a conspiracy in regards to her husband's death in 2009. This followed both mother and son having left the INC and resigned from their Pulivendula assembly and Kadapa Lok Sabha seat. In the ensuing by-election in 2011, both of them held on to their seats with large margins of victory.[1]

Other campaigning during the elections was undertaken by INC MP Chiranjeevi in Nellore. YSRCP's Honorary President Y. S. Vijayamma and her daughter, Sharmila, as well as TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu, campaigned in Tirupati. The incumbent Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and the leader of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee Botsa Satyanarayana also campaigned during the last 10 days. The INC's federal ministers, Vayalar Ravi and Ghulam Nabi Azad, along with most of the Andhra Pradesh cabinet, also campaigned for the party. The BJP MP Sushma Swaraj spoke at the only electoral rally in Parkala with the promise of creating a separate Telangana; the TRS' leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao also campaigned in the constituency.[2]

Results[edit]

The March result was announced under tight security by Bhanwarlal on 18 March. For the first time it involved the use of 3G technology to upload data to the internet more quickly, with the counting process recorded with web cameras.[3] YSRCP won the Kovur seat after the incumbent TDP MLA resigned.

Vote counting started at 8:00 on 15 June 2012. The Lok Sabha constituency had a turnout of about 70%, while the Vidhan Sabha constituencies had an average of 80% voter turnout.[1] Security was again tightened, with 9,000 police deployed in three layers of security at the 13 counting centres within the 12 districts.[4] The Nellore Lok Sabha seat had 13 candidates, while the 18 Vidhan Sabha seats had a total of 242 candidates. Notably, Ongole had 23 contestants, Tirupati and Rajampet followed with 19 candidates each, while Narasannapet and Polavaram had the least competition with six candidates each.[2]

The incumbent Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy held on to his Nellore seat for the YSRCP with a margin of over 290,000 votes against the second placed Rajyasabha member T. Subbarami Reddy of the INC.[1]

Of the 18 Vidhan Sabha constituencies, YSRCP gets a seat from the Tirupati constituency which earlier was represented by Actor Chiranjeevi.[5]

YSRCP won 15 seats,[6] while the incumbent INC won two seats, taking its legislative majority to 154 out of 294 seats[1] and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi won the Parkala seat, which was the only seat open for election in the Telegana region, after Bhikshapati won the seat.[7] However, YSRCP party leaders P. Subhash Chandra Bose and Konda Surekha, who were former Andhra Pradesh cabinet ministers, lost in Ramachandrapuram and Parkala, respectively. Notable YSRCP winners were: B. Sreenivas Reddy, a relative of the Y. S. Reddy family, Gurunath Reddy, Chenna Keshav Reddy, Srikanth Reddy and Dharmana Krishna Das.[1] YSRCP's wins included all the 8 seats in the Rayalseema district, three in the Kadapa district and two in the Anantapur district.[8]

Reactions[edit]

Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy's sister, Sharmila, reacted to the victory by suggesting he would be the chief minister by 2014 at the latest. Incumbent INC Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy then held a series of emergency meetings with his cabinet and other party MLAs. In contrast to other electoral losses for the INC at the local level, he was not summoned to New Delhi to meet the central party leaders and assess the damage done as a result of having lost most of the 18 seats the party had held before the December defections.[6]

Analysis[edit]

The Hindu read this as possibly predictive of the 2014 general election. It also said that while the YSRCP was the favourite, there was a keen eye on who would finish second between the INC and the TDP.[4] Rediff headlined the result as the "fledgling YSR Congress party...has swept the by-elections in Andhra Pradesh, denting the last bastion of Congress in south." It also pointed out that the loss of Tirupati was significant as it was the home district of the INC Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and had previously been won by Chiranjeevi before his resignation to seek a Lok Sabha seat.[8] The Economic Times referred to the YSRCP's successful result as "riding on the sympathy wave in the wake of its leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's arrest",[9] and the Hindustan Times had a similar assessment.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f IANS (15 June 2012). "Jagan's YSR Congress wins Nellore Lok Sabha, 14 assembly seats". Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b IANS (10 June 2012). "Campaigning ends for Andhra by-elections". TwoCircles.net. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  3. ^ TNN (21 March 2012). "By-election results today". Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "By-election results today". The Hindu. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.siasat.com/english/news/chiru-gets-shock-ysrcp-wins-tirupathi-seat
  6. ^ a b Radhika Iyer (15 June 2012). "Election results: Jagan sweeps polls; will be Chief Minister in 2014, predicts sister". NDTV. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Bye-Elections, 2012 – Andhra Pradesh – Winning Candidates & Rival Candidates & Margin of Votes" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 
  8. ^ a b Mohammed Siddique (15 June 2012). "Jagan DECIMATES Congress, TDP in Andhra by-polls". Rediff.com. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "YSR Congress bags 8 assembly seats, leading in 7". The Economic Times. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Ashok Das (15 June 2012). "AP: Cong on back foot as Jagan sweeps byelections". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 15 June 2012.