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Telangana cheer for Cong

- Party wiped out in civic polls in Seemandhra

Hyderabad, May 12: The Congress and the Telugu Desam Party had their Assembly and Lok Sabha election hopes boosted respectively in Telangana and Seemandhra, where the results of the March 30 civic polls were announced today.

The Congress won 25 of Telangana’s 55 civic bodies, stunning the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which was said to have hijacked the entire credit for the statehood announcement but clocked just 10 boards. The Desam-BJP won 11 and five were hung.

The Desam, thought to be neck and neck with the YSR Congress in Seemandhra, won 72 of the region’s 99 urban local bodies with partner BJP while Jaganmohan Reddy’s party bagged just 20. Six boards were hung.

While the Desam and the Congress crowed that these results suggested they would also sweep the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in these two regions, a better indication would be provided by tomorrow’s announcement of the panchayat poll results. Villagers make up two-thirds of the state’s electorate.

Both the rural and civic polls were held in late March but their results had been withheld so that they didn’t interfere with the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, held in Telangana on April 30 and Seemandhra on May 7.

“The municipal elections cannot reveal the overall trend. Our party has a huge rural following and we will sweep both the Assembly and parliamentary polls,” asserted Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K.T. Rama Rao, son of party chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The jubilation in the Telangana Congress camp was matched by the gloom in the Seemandhra unit, which scored a zero. The Congress has “shown its mettle once again”, Telangana unit chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah said.

Lagadapati Rajagopal, the expelled Congress MP who had sprayed pepper in Parliament to try and stall the Telangana bill’s passage, told news channels that the Congress’s “fall in Seemandhra was certain” but he was “surprised at its resurgence” in Telangana.

“We held the majority of the urban local bodies in Seemandhra but have drawn a complete blank this time,” rued Andhra Congress president Raghuveera Reddy. “This shows how angry Seemandhra’s urban voters are with us over the state’s division.”

Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu said in a statement that the results proved that the “will and mood of the people have turned against the corrupt Congress and the YSR Congress”.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti was seen as such a favourite in Telangana for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls that Congress and Desam leaders from the region had been defecting to it in hordes. A buoyed Samiti was also seen as having run a better campaign and fielded better candidates.