Andhra Pradesh has given a sweeping mandate to YSR Jaganmohan Reddy for both state and the Centre, practically decimating Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party. Mr Reddy, the chief of the YSR Congress, is leading in 141 of the state’s 175 assembly seats and all 25 of its Lok Sabha seats. While Mr Naidu is yet to concede defeat, leaders in Mr Reddy’s camp said he is likely to take oath on May 30.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, which ruled the state since the bifurcation of Telangana in 2014, is unlikely to win a single Lok Sabha seat. In the assembly, he is likely to be reduced to 26 seats. One seat may go to the BJP.
Forty-six-year-old Jaganmohan Reddy is the son of YS Rajashekhara Reddy, one of the state’s most popular Chief Ministers who died in a chopper crash in 2009. Jaganmohan Reddy, who inherited his father’s supporters, still had to make his mark at the head of a new party formed in 2011. The moment came during his two-foot marches – the last one over the special status for Andhra Pradesh, undertaken last year.
YV Subba Reddy, Mr Reddy’s uncle and a senior party leader, said, “Full credit to Jagan for the 3648-km padyatra, during which Jagan interacted with over one crore people”.
It was Jaganmohan Reddy’s push for the Special Status for Andhra Pradesh that’s said to be at the bottom of Chandrababu Naidu’s move to part company with the BJP and join the opposition camp.
In view of Mr Reddy’s record-breaking padyatras, there were questions why the Chief Minister, despite being closer to the Centre, could not get the Special Category status promised to Andhra Pradesh during the bifurcation of Telangana.
Counting of votes started this morning for the 543 seats of the Lok Sabha. Early leads show Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP has crossed 300 seats.
Exit polls have predicted that the BJP will retain power with a comfortable majority.