Andhra Congress trumpets win in cooperative polls

HYDERABAD — The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh finally seems to be within sight of the elusive silver lining in the dark clouds that had engulfed it since the death of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy in 2009.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 8:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:32 PM

After four years of abysmal performance in various by-elections in the state, the party has come up with impressive performances in both the recently-held Cooperative Bodies polls and the elections to District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs) on Monday in which Congress-backed nominees bagged as many 17 of the 19 DCCBs that went to polls.

Though these grass-root elections, which are held on a non-party basis without the involvement of party manifestoes, flags or symbols, local politics dictate the choice of the candidates who are affiliated to one political party or the other. It is against this background that the results of these elections are being perceived as a shot in the arm for the beleaguered Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been seen consistently as an ‘ineffective and inefficient administrator” not only by the opposition but also by a section of the ruling party.

“The outcome clearly indicates that the Congress clearly enjoys the support at the grass-root level and we are confident of repeating the performance in the coming Panchayat Raj elections and the Assembly elections in 2014,” a beaming Kiran Reddy said after the announcement of results.

The Congress won the DCCB elections in Krishna, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Nellore in coastal Andhra, Chittoor, Anantapur and Kurnool in Rayalaseema and in Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, Warangal, Medak, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts in Telangana. The fledgling YSR Congress headed by jailed Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy won the Kadapa DCCB while the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) bagged the Khammam DCCB with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) drawing a blank.

In the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) elections, the Congress bagged 55 per cent of the 2,949 PACS. There are around 10.4 million members in PACS, a fair representation of the total number of voters who exercise their franchise in the general elections. More importantly, these polls reflect the voice of the farmers as they form the major chunk of voters.

The Congress wrested the PACS in 14 of the 23 districts. It was not surprising then that Kiran Reddy sought to showcase the performance before the party High Command during his recent visit to Delhi indicating that he could hold fort despite the internal differences in the party which had taken a heavy toll on the party’s image.

In a logical next move to further consolidate his position, the chief minister, according to sources, is now gearing up for elections to local bodies including Gram Panchayats and Municipalities following the Supreme Court nod to the state on Monday to hold elections to local bodies according to the existing quotas of reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. —

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