Wednesday, May 21, 2014

139/10,000 ...

The following article was published in Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:

I want you, the reader, to very slowly read and grasp the significance of the following statistic.
Election was held to 16,000 MPTC and 1000 ZPTC posts in the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh in April this year. Nearly 10,000 MPTC are from the Seemandhra region. The Congress, which was in power for 10 years in Andhra Pradesh (and also had majority MLA seats in Seemandhra) won 139 MPTC seats. Yes, the Congress won 139 seats out of the 10,000 seats that went to poll. The words – Destruction and Annihilation – seem very insignificant to describe this performance of the Congress!
On Monday, the results for Municipal poll have been declared. The results have been discussed in an earlier article here. Summary is that the TDP won massively in Seemandhra region, and the Congress gained upper hand over TRS and TDP in the Telangana region. Since those results were primarily from urban areas, there was a lot of talk of waiting for results from rural areas too – before coming to a conclusion on how the regions voted. Let’s now discuss the results of the MPTC and ZPTC poll.
Before getting into the results, here’s a brief on what exactly is MPTC and ZPTC. The hierarchy of the Panchayat Raj system is like this. First comes Gram Panchayat. Then comes Mandal Praja Parishad (MPP) and then comes Zilla Parishad (ZP). The current election held was for electing members to the MPP and ZP. In addition to these elected members, local MLAs and MPs are also part of the MPP and ZP. These elections are primarily for rural bodies, and are based on the population.

Results of Seemandhra region:
These election was held on paper ballot, so at the time of writing this article, results for a few seats are yet to be declared. Nevertheless, counting is complete in almost all of the 10,092 seats that went to polling for MPTC. The TDP has won 5050 seats, whilst the YSRCP came second with 3900 seats for MPTC. Out of the 653 seats that went to polls for ZPTC – TDP won 334. The TDP on its own will now be in power in 9/13 Zilla Parishads – this is massive too.
There were lot of apprehensions that YSRCP was dominating the rural areas, and the discourse centered around a wide split in the urban and rural votes. These results put an end to such an argument – the TDP has beaten YSRCP both in the urban and rural areas. Remember, the election was held in first week of April, much before the alliance with BJP and Jana Sena (Pawan Kalyan’s party) was announced. Post the alliance, the votes only will get consolidated further.
Another argument going around is that these results will not have any impact on the Assembly and Lok Sabha poll. The argument is that these election is based on local issues and local candidate selections. However, I beg to differ. In 2004, the Congress won a thumping majority in the State. In the 2005, elections to these local bodies, the Congress continued it’s good showing. Similar situation happened in the year 2000 too (the TDP continued it’s good showing from the 1999 elections). Also, elections to Gram Panchayats were held in July 2013 (just before the bifurcation decision was announced). The TDP stood first in a three cornered race then too. Since then, these results have only gone more in favour of the TDP than YSRCP. Also, these elections are at mandal, municipal and district levels. Though local issues might dominate at mandal level but it is difficult to fathom that those issues were the guiding factors for voting at district level too.
It would take an extraordinary miracle for the voter in the Seemandhra region to change his/her mind within a month (general election was held one month after local body poll). YSRCP’s home channel, Sakshi TV informs us that TDP got 45 per cent of vote share in municipal poll whilst YSRCP got 40 per cent.  Looking back at the campaign, it is difficult to see why there will be a reversal of these numbers in the general election.
Results of Telangana region:
The Congress continues to lead in these elections too, in the Telangana region. Out of the nearly 6500 seats that went to polls, the Congress has won nearly 2300. The TRS won nearly 1800 and the TDP won about 1000. However, very curiously, the TRS has emerged as the single largest party in the ZPTC elections! And therefore this election in Telangana becomes more intriuging!
There is a no clear cut majority to any party – as witnessed in both the urban and rural body election results. The Congress has gained an upper hand in this region. However, since they do not a single face as the leader of the party in the region, there is talk that their assembly performance might not reflect their performance in local bodies. Though it is still a possibility, it does seem unlikely that the TRS will sweep the elections in the region. Only 60 seats are needed to form a Government in Telangana – as of now, it looks like the TRS and Congress will emerge as the two largest parties with none reaching the 60 mark. The probability of a TRS-Congress Government in Telangana has just gone up, after these results are out.
Exit Polls
Quite strangely, no major Telugu newspaper or channel have done an exit poll. Perhaps wisdom dawned upon them that these results are the biggest exit poll one can imagine to get! The results are clear enough. Coming to the Lok Sabha – various channels have given various numbers to the NDA and the YSRCP. There is too much of variation – so much that everyone can claim credit to have given the correct number! I believe that there will be a lot of cross voting for the Lok Sabha election, and the NDA will emerge as the largest combine in the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh. We now wait for May 16.
(PS: I’d again draw your attention to this statistic. In a State which was in power for the last 10 years, the Congress won 139 seats out of the 10,000 seats that went to poll in the Seemandhra region.)


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