Massive violence and alleged failure of EVMs have marred Andhra Pradesh elections.

 

Hyderabad: As polling in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha elections clocked 80% on Thursday, YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy appeared before media at 11 pm at his Lotus Pond residence in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad and claimed that he was going to form the next government in the state. He just returned from voting in his Pulivendula Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh.

“Good that people have gotten rid of that Rakshasa Palana (demon’s rule),” he said while refusing to specify a date of his swearing-in ceremony as the Chief Minister, in case he wins the elections. “Everything is in the hands of God,” he said when asked when he would take oath as the CM. Jagan, flanked by his Rajya Sabha MP K. Vijaya Sai Reddy, focused more on the violence that marred the Andhra Pradesh elections.

Jagan refused to specify the number of seats he would win in the elections, but he claimed that his party was sure to come to power, going by the massive turnout at the polling booths earlier in the day.

“I am told the polling is touching 80% and it may even go up. This huge turnout is a sign of change in the state,” Jagan said. His party leaders claimed Jagan would bag 130 out of 175 MLAs.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, too, sounded fully confident of his victory for a second term in the newly carved out Andhra Pradesh and thanked the voters for “withstanding the troubles created by the goons of YSR Congress”. “You have seen the amount of violence and disturbances by YCP today, good that you have voted us back to power,” Naidu said.

The Chief Minister, rattled by a series of attacks on his party leaders, including his son and IT minister N. Lokesh in his Mangalagiri Assembly seat and Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao during the course of polling, said that the YSR Congress had systematically planned these attacks and wanted to win through “unfair and illegal means”.

Even Naidu didn’t go into the numbers, but his party leaders later claimed that he would become the CM for one more term as the TDP was sure to cross 150 MLAs. “I will take oath as CM for my next term after 23 May, on an auspicious day,” Naidu said while answering a question at a media conference at his official residence in Amaravati on Friday afternoon.

The TDP leaders’ confidence stemmed from the fact that a large number of women turned up for voting across the state. Of the average polling of around 80%, women accounted for over half of it. The TDP’s assessment is that as most of the women in rural self-help groups have received Rs 10,000 one-time giveaway under the “Pasupu-Kumkuma” scheme of the state government, they would have voted for TDP.

“I salute my sisters and elder women for patiently waiting in long queues to vote and it is their vote that saved our state from the anarchic rule of Jagan,” Naidu said.

The CM described the over 80% polling as a sign of “silent vote” in favour of TDP which has done so much of development and welfare in the last five years.

Asked whether he was complaining against the Election Commission (EC) for its failure to ensure free and fair conduct of elections because of his impending defeat, the CM said: “You will see the results on 23 May when we are going to win and form the next government. I am not afraid of losing, but I am concerned over the massive violence and failure of EVMs that marred the polling.”

Jagan, on the other hand, found fault with Naidu blaming the EC and EVMs when the elections were held in a peaceful and smooth manner. “The fact is over 80% of voters exercised their franchise and except in a few places, the elections were held peacefully. Chandrababu Naidu is attacking the EC for his fear of losing the elections,” Jagan said. Jagan’s trusted lieutenant and YSR Congress MLA G. Srikanth Reddy, however, said that Jagan was almost poised to take over as the next CM within a couple of days after 23 May, the results day, and provide a government with “welfare and development”.  “We will honour each and every of our promises made to people,” said Srikanth Reddy, after meeting Jagan.

Contradicting this, senior TDP leader and Assembly Speaker Sivaprasada Rao expressed confidence that TDP would return to power “under any circumstances”. Admitting that the large-scale violence and EVM glitches had impacted the polling in favour of TDP, Rao, who contested from Narsaraopet in Guntur district as MLA, said: “Despite all these problems, we will win 100%.”

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