The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:
After dilly dallying for nearly 4 years, the AP Government was forced by the Courts to hold elections to the local bodies in the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh. Elections that were due in 2010 were finally held in April 2014 – just about a month before the general elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha. And therefore these results have acquired great prominence – because they are being seen as a precursor to what will come on May 16.
Today, results for the Municipal Corporations, divisions for municipalities (towns) and ward councillors have been declared. Let’s take a look at the results before discussing further.
1. TDP won 1436 ward councillor seats out of the 2571 that were in fray. YSRCP came second with 850 seats. The Congress has been annihilated — it won a mere 53 seats out of the total 2571 seats!
2. TDP won a whopping 62 out of the 92 municipalities (towns). YSRCP came a distant second with 19 seats.
3. TDP won 5 out of the 7 Municipal Corporations. The remaining two went to YSRCP.
1. Congress won 526 ward councillor seats ouf of the 1399 that were in fray. TRS came second with 313 and the TDP finished third with ~160.
2. Congress won 21 out of the 53 municipalities. TRS came second with 11. TDP won 3 and BJP won 2.
3. No outright winner in the three corporations that went to polls in Telangana. All of them have returned a hung verdict.
What does the result mean to Seemandhra politics?
Undoubtedly the urban voter has chosen the TDP. These elections were held before the alliance with BJP was finalised. These were held before Pawan Kalyan openly campaigned for the alliance – so there is widespread enthusiasm amongst the cadre that the Assembly elections will also return a similar verdict. The cadre is particularly enthused that these results were before the alliance and Pawan Kalyan – so they expect a higher seat margin in the Assembly. However, the catch is in tomorrow’s results. Tomorrow, the results for MPTC and ZPTC elections will be out – the rural voters have spoken through the ballot. Only after seeing tomorrow’s results can we arrive at an accurate prediction for Seemandhra region.
However, the surge of TDP was not fully expected. Even in YSRCP stronghold of Kadapa district, the TDP surged ahead by winning 4/7 municipalities. This showing by TDP has definitely surpassed a lot of expectations. The message is crystal clear – we will trust only experience and development; not corruption and arrogance. If tomorrow’s MPTC and ZPTC elections throw up a close result, then we can hope for a TDP+BJP victory in Seemandhra Assembly election too.
The most important outcome to note is the death of Congress. Maybe this is the first time in electoral history that a party has been decimated so badly after being in power for 10 continuous years. A mere 53 seats out of the 2571 in fray is nothing short of devastation. Such is the levels of frustration the people have had with the Congress.
What does the result mean to Telangana politics?
Those keenly following the politics of Telangana might not be fully surprised at the result – Congress performing better than TRS. This is because TRS is bereft of strong cadre at that level. This was also one of the reasons that there were talks of merger/alliance. However, the Assembly election was fought on a single issue – formation of the Telangana State. This means that emotion might have played a larger role, than that at the municipal level. Municipal elections are generally about local specific issues. Therefore, we can still anticipate a majority victory by the TRS and the Congress will be in the second place!
The TDP salvaged some pride by winning 3 municipalities and nearly 160 ward councillors. No news agency is putting out the exact number of seats won by the BJP for ward councillors. A whopping 350 candidates have in ‘others’ category in Telangana. The split remains to be seen yet. Either way, the TDP-BJP combination is not finished and with proper hard work, their lost pride can be salvaged still.
A few exit polls continue to predict a close fight between TDP+ and YSRCP. Today’s election results have shown that the urban (and semi-urban) voter voted in a one-sided manner. Let’s wait for the rural pulse tomorrow – and then we can analyse what the exit polls are predicting. These results are the biggest exit poll ever – based on a sample size of over 2 crore!