Ahead of tomorrow’s counting of votes in June 12 by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, exit polls project Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress party to make a near sweep.
Ruling Congress and principal opposition Telugu Desam Party are projected to finish a distant second or third.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti is expected to ride yet again on the statehood sentiment to wrest the Parkal Lok Sabha seat in Warangal district.
The exit polls have already given about 12-16 seats to YSRC, one for TRS. Congress or TDP, if at all, may win one to two seats.
With a whopping 79.52 per cent polling reported on an average in all constituencies, the high turnout is being read by political analysts as a clear “anti-incumbency” vote and “sympathy” for Jagan who has been jailed in a disproportionate assets case.
Of the 18 Assembly seats, 16 were won by Congress in 2009 and two by erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party.
Nellore Lok Sabha seat was also bagged by Congress in 2009 but now it may go YSRC way, as per the current trend.
In effect, the by-elections will reveal the trend in 24 assembly constituencies in all as six segments under Nellore Lok Sabha constituency also went to polls.
Two of the six assembly segments under Nellore Lok Sabha seat are represented by state ministers Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and M Maheedhar Reddy.
Tirupati Assembly result will determine the political efficacy of K Chiranjeevi who vacated the seat on his election to Rajya Sabha in March this year.
The arrest of Jagan and the “sympathy” his mother and sister generated during the campaign trail have raised the party’s stock steeply.
Congress seems to have resigned to its fate and virtually conceded defeat. “We will take collective responsibility for the results. If we fare badly, we will review our shortcomings and take corrective action,” PCC chief and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said.
Similar was the mood in Telugu Desam Party. “Irrespective of the number of seats we win or lose, TDP’s fight against corruption will continue”, TDP MLC Y V B Rajendra Prasad said.
YSRC, on the other hand, looked upbeat and claimed it would “sweep” the by-elections.