Hyderabad: The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh has claimed that candidates backed by it have won majority of village-level local bodies in the first phase of panchayat elections held on Tuesday.
Though the polls were held on non-party basis, the political parties backed the candidates contesting for the posts of sarpanchs or village heads and ward members.
Out of 6,566 panchayats which went to polls in the first phase, candidates backed by the TDP won 1,944 seats while ruling Congress finished second with 1,686 posts of sarpanchs. The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) stood third with 1,297 seats. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which is confined to Telangana region, bagged 456 seats. The remaining panchayats were bagged by independents and others.
The counting of votes was taken up immediately after the polling ended Tuesday afternoon and the final results were announced late in the night. The TDP showed an impressive performance by winning the majority panchayats in 10 districts while Congress fared well in seven districts. YSRCP and TRS were ahead in two districts each.
The Congress faced embarrassment even in Chittoor, the native district of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, as the TDP emerged victorious with 160 seats. YSRCP finished second with 108 while Congress came a poor third with 56 seats. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu also hails from the same district.
The TDP won the majority of seats in Srikakulam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam, Chittoor, Anantapur, Ranga Reddy and Adilabad districts. The Congress was ahead in Kurnool, Nellore, Vijayanagaram, Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Mahabubnagar districts.
The YSRCP won the majority of seats in Kadapa, the native district of party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who is in jail for more than a year in a disproportionate assets case. The party also bagged Visakhapatnam district but missed the first place in East Godavari and Nellore districts by a couple of seats.
YSRCP did well in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions but received a huge setback in Telangana. Barring Mahabubnagar, the candidates backed by the party could win only a handful seats in other districts in Telangana.
TRS won majority seats in its strongholds of Warangal and Medak but it was Congress which bagged maximum number of districts (four) in Telangana.
Reacting to the poll results, Chandrababu Naidu said it showed people were with TDP. He said people taught a lesson to both Congress and YSRCP for what he called "destroying" the state. He said the voters had also rejected TRS, which he described as "collection party". The former chief minister appealed to voters to reject the candidates supported by these parties in the remaining two phases of the polls.
The state has 21,592 gram panchayats, of which 21,491 are going to polls in three phases. The second and third phases of elections are scheduled on July 27 and 31.