Amaravati, Mar 18 (IANS): In a big jolt to Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won all three Legislative Council seats from graduates' constituencies which went to polls on March 13.
The main opposition party received a big boost with victories in north Andhra, east Rayalaseema, and west Rayalaseema graduates' constituencies.
In a neck and neck contest, the TDP bagged West Rayalaseema (Kadapa-Anantapur-Kurnool districts), which is considered a stronghold of the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP. TDP candidate Bhumireddy Ramagopal Reddy defeated his nearest rival V. Ravindra Reddy of YSRCP by 7,543 second preference votes.
No candidate secured a majority in first preference votes but in the elimination round, there was a close contest between the TDP and the YSRCP. The opposition party candidate surged ahead in the elimination round to win the seat.
Returning officer S. Nagalakshmi announced that TDP's Ramgopal Reddy polled 1,09,781 votes while YSRCP's Ravindra Reddy secured 1,02,238 votes.
Counting of votes which began at 8 a.m. on Thursday was completed around 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Alleging that there were irregularities in counting of votes, the YSRCP candidate and other leaders demanded re-counting. The returning officer told them to give in writing if they have any objection.
Earlier, the TDP won North Andhra and East Rayalaseema seats. TDP candidate Vepada Chiranjeevi Rao won North Andhra (Srikakulam-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam) seat by a margin of 34,836 votes over the YSRCP candidate.
TDP's Kancharla Srikanth Chowdhary was elected from East Rayalaseema (Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor) with a margin of 34,110 votes over the YSRCP candidate.
The defeat in all three graduates' constituencies is being seen as a major setback for the ruling party as they were spread in 108 of the total 175 Assembly segments.
This was also the first big defeat for the YSRCP, which had swept all the elections since 2019.
In the MLC polls, the YSRCP won both teachers' constituencies (East Rayalaseema and West Rayalaseema) and four local body segments.
Meanwhile, TDP President and former Chief Minister T. Chandrababu Naidu described the victory of his party in three graduates' constituencies a public victory. "A sign of change. The way to good. Auspicious for the state," Naidu tweeted.
"Congratulations to the three candidates who won the MLC elections. Thanks to the people who won. Salute to the activists and leaders who stood against YCP irregularities in the elections," added Naidu withA hashtag ByeByeJaganIn2024.