Hyderabad: The first round of elections to gram panchayats in Andhra Pradesh saw both ruling Congress and principal Opposition TDP claiming victory.
YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), widely being perceived as the main challenger to both Congress and TDP, has ended up only as a fringe player, as also Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Even in their so-called bastions, these two parties failed to make a mark.
Elections in the first phase, covering 5,792 gram panchayats spread over 22 districts, were held yesterday and counting of votes was taken up in the afternoon. Polling for the second and third phase is scheduled for July 27 and 31.
There is no official count of the number of panchayats the parties won as the elections are held on an apolitical basis. However, main political parties extended support to candidates of their choice and every one of them has come out with its own tally to claim victory (over the others).
According to figures available here, TDP emerged a clear winner, edging the Congress out across the three regions of the state. TDP-backed candidates won in 1,944 panchayats while those supported by Congress emerged victorious in 1,686.
The fledgling YSRCP stood third with 1,297 and TRS fourth with 456 panchayats.
Pradesh Congress Committee President Botsa Satyanarayana, however, claimed his party won 2,700 panchayats whereas Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy reportedly put his party`s figure at 1,965.
Reddy, smarting under the Congress` debacle in his native Chittoor district (where the party finished third) reviewed the poll results with some of his Cabinet colleagues this afternoon, official sources said.
Kiran, while claiming Congress` "victory", gave TDP only 1,893 and Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSRCP 1,457 panchayats.
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, while thanking the people for reposing faith in his party, refused to give a count of the panchayats it won.
"I will not announce any number but we have clearly established a lead," the former chief minister told reporters.