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How Congress turned the tables on Jagan loyalists

March 17, 2011 23:45 IST

The ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh narrowly escaped a huge embarrassment in the elections to the 10 seats of the state legislative council on Thursday.

Legislative council Vice Chairman and a senior party leader from the Guntur district Mohammed Jani managed to scrape through in the polls despite cross voting by nine members of Legislative Assembly from the Congress, who are loyalists of rebel leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

Though all the 27 Congress MLAs caste their vote only 17 were in favour of Jani. All the Jagan supporters voted for Majlis Ittihad Muslameen candidate.

Outgoing member of the legislative council Altaf Haider Rizvi of the MIM secured 36 first preference votes as against the requirement of 27 votes, making it obvious that the Jagan loyalists were in his favour rather than the Congress nominee. 

Initially, it appeared that Jagan had succeeded in causing embarrassment to the Congress party but ultimately the party managed to turn the tables on Jagan supporters. The episode ended up in throwing light on the real strength of Jagan. Congress leaders pointed out that only nine MLAs indulged in cross voting and they too were not sufficient to damage the party's chances.

The council polls were held on Thursday for the 10 MLC seats for which 12

candidates were in the fray. While the Congress won five seats and two seats went to its allies the MIM and the Praja Rajayam Party, three seats were bagged by the opposition Telugu Desam Party and its ally the Communist Party of India.

Those who emerged victorious in the polls include former minister P Venkat Rao, Sudhakar Babu, Changal Rayudu, and Ranga Reddy from the Congress and former Rajya Sabha member C Ramachandraiah from the PRP.

From the Opposition, TDP surprised itself by winning two seats and helping the CPI in winning one. Its successful candidates include Satish Reddy and Gangadhar Goud. PJ Chandrasekhar Rao of CPI also emerged victorious in the second and third preference votes. Former speaker of assembly Pratibha Bharti (TDP) lost.

Mahmood Ali of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti suffered a defeat. He is said to have secured 11 votes from his party, but could not get the two votes from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which party president K Chandrasekhar Rao had promised to secure for him. However, there was some confusion in the TRS ranks after BJP insisted that they voted for Ali, raising questions of cross voting by TRS MLAs.

MIM was sitting pretty as it had already won a seat uncontested. Its sitting member and senior journalist Syed Amin Jafri won his seat for the second full term.

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad