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People’s disillusionment led to YSRCP’s humiliating defeat

People’s disillusionment with Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party’s (YSRCP) rule in Andhra Pradesh led to the party being decimated in Assembly polls as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is set to return to power with a landslide victory.

YSRCP’s U-turn on Amaravati as the state capital soon after coming to power in 2019, its failure to build three state capitals as promised by it, reversal of key decisions taken by the previous government leading to derailment of development process, alleged ‘destructive’ rule, its acts of political vendetta against Opposition leaders, failure to complete the Polavaram project are among the factors that led to the party’s humiliating defeat.

The forging of alliance by the TDP, BJP and Jana Sena appeared to have proved a game changer as it avoided split of anti-establishment votes.

In a reversal of the 2019 results, the people have given a clear mandate in favour of the TDP-led alliance in a state, which is without a state capital even after a decade of bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh.

This election also continued the trend of voting out the incumbent as TDP, which had formed the first government in the truncated state in 2014, lost power in 2019.

People have once again reposed faith in veteran leader Chandrababu Naidu, who will be taking over as the chief minister for a fourth time (in both united Andhra Pradesh and truncated state).

All sections of people appeared to have backed the TDP and its allies as they achieved an impressive strike rate of nearly 100 per cent.

The trends show that YSRCP may finish a poor third behind Jana Sena and may not even get the status of main Opposition party.

It was likely to be a neck-and-neck race between YSRCP and the NDA with an edge for the latter. However, the outcome has come as a huge shock for the ruling party.

The trend shows the tripartite alliance was leading in 162 out of 175 Assembly seats.

The TDP alone won 13 seats and was leading in 122 segments.

The Jana Sena bagged three seats and was ahead in 18 constituencies.

Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP was leading in only 13 constituencies.

The NDA was also leading in 21 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state. While TDP candidates were leading in 16 seats, the BJP and Jana Sena were ahead in three and two seats respectively.

YSRCP was leading in only four constituencies.

This is the worst-ever performance for the YSRCP, which was floated by Jagan Mohan Reddy in 2010 after resigning from Congress party in a series of dramatic developments following the death of his father and then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) in a helicopter crash 2009.

Jagan Mohan Reddy successfully claimed YSR’s political legacy as YSRCP emerged a formidable force in the truncated state following bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh.

The party, which narrowly missed power in 2014, won 67 Assembly and eight Lok Sabha seats.

In 2019, YSRCP stormed to power with a landslide majority, winning 151 Assembly and 22 Lok Sabha seats, decimating the TDP.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, who had come to power riding an anti-incumbency wave, consolidated his position by sweeping urban and rural local body elections.

Though he tried to build a strong vote bank with series of welfare schemes, especially targeting women and weaker sections of society, the allegations of autocratic rule, corruption, alleged liquor, land and sand mafias and controversial moves like dropping development of Amaravati as the only state capital damaged the party’s image.

“People were disgusted with the YSRCP’s rule. The party antagonised almost all sections of society with its approach and controversial decisions taken merely out of political vengeance,” said political analyst P Pavan.

YSRCP was also seen targeting the influential Kamma community, considered as traditional supporters of the TDP.

Sections of the Reddy community, seen as staunch supporters of the YSRCP and the Kapus, Backward Classes and other castes were also alienated by the party.

Many YSRCP leaders including ministers faced allegations of corruption and involvement with the liquor, land and sand mafia.

They also allegedly used repressive measures against political opponents.

The humiliation Leader of Opposition and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was subjected to in the Assembly, his arrest last year on allegations of corruption, the arrest of several other TDP leaders and the personal attacks made on Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan all added to the public’s ire against YSRCP.

Jagan Mohan Reddy sought a fresh mandate to continue implementation of welfare schemes launched by him.

At every election rally he addressed, he boasted that with the push of a button, Rs. 2.70 lakh crore were transferred directly benefiting people during the last five years.

However, this was not enough to win back the people’s support as they were unhappy over YSRCP failing to deliver on promises like job creation and total prohibition.

Cashing in on anti-incumbency, TDP, BJP and Jana Sena came together to take on YSRCP.

Though the TDP was facing a big crisis after Chandrababu Naidu was arrested and jailed in the Skill Development Corporation case late last year, Pawan Kalyan took the initiative to forge an alliance with the TDP and convinced his ally BJP to come on board.

Though the Congress party, which drew a blank in 2014 and 2019 elections, tried to revive its fortunes by naming Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sister YS Sharmila as the state party chief, this has not yielded any gains for the party, which drew a blank in the state in a third consecutive election.

The TDP-led alliance had accused Jagan of ‘destroying’ the state with his policies.

They alleged that he acted only with political vendetta, derailed the state’s development by stopping development of Amaravati as state capital and encouraged liquor, land, sand and mines mafias.

Sparing no words to hit out at Jagan, Chandrababu Naidu called him a ‘dictator’ and a ‘psycho’.

Claiming that as the chief minister between 2014 and 2019 he designed Amaravati as a state capital at par with Hyderabad, the TDP chief had said Jagan killed the dream of people of Andhra Pradesh with his ‘psycho mentality’ by mooting the idea of three state capitals.

Naidu’s poll promises, especially ‘Super Six’, also appeared to have influenced the poll outcome.

The TDP-JSP manifesto promised free bus travel for women, three free gas cylinders every year to each household, monthly financial assistance of Rs.1,500 to women aged 18-59 years, creation of 20 lakh jobs in five years, monthly unemployment allowance of Rs.3,000, annual financial assistance of Rs. 15,000 to a mother of every school-going student and investment support of Rs.20,000 to every farmer.

The BJP did not associate itself with the manifesto in line with its national policy. In 2019, YSRCP wrested power from TDP with a landslide victory, bagging 151 seats in the 175-member Assembly. It polled 49.95 per cent votes. The TDP was distant second with 23 seats and 39.17 per cent votes. Jagan’s party also bagged 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats while TDP got remaining three seats. Jana Sena, which had an alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties, could win just one Assembly seat.

Pawan Kalyan himself suffered defeat in both the seats he contested. The party had polled 5.53 per cent votes.

The BJP too went alone in 2019 and drew a blank. It polled a mere 0.84 per cent votes. The BJP had bagged four Assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats in 2014, when it had an alliance with the TDP. Jana Sena had not contested the election but backed the TDP-BJP alliance.

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