Warangal: The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) retained Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha seat with a record margin of 4.6 lakh votes by subjecting the opposition Congress and the TDP-BJP combine to a humiliating defeat, which saw their nominees losing security deposits.
TRS candidate Pasunuri Dayakar polled 6,15,403 votes while his rival from the Congress Sarve Satyanarayana, a former Union minister, and Pagidipati Devaiah (BJP) of the BJP-TDP combine gathered 1,56,311 and 1,30,178 votes, respectively.
Dayakar broke the record of state Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao who had won Medak Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 3,97,029 votes in last year's general elections.
With the big victory margin, the TRS has bettered its 2014 performance when its candidate Kadiyam Srihari had bagged the seat with a margin of 3,92,574 votes. Srihari later quit the seat after he was made Deputy Chief Minister, necessitating the bypoll.
The outcome is seen as a big disappointment to the Congress and the BJP-TDP combine, which wanted to recoup after the drubbing in last year's Assembly elections.
The by-election was a first major political test for the TRS chief who assumed office of the country's youngest state last year after its bifurcation from Andhra Pradesh.
Reacting to the TRS victory, the chief minister said the outcome is a 100 per cent endorsement and positive vote for his government.
"Our responsibility now grows. This by-election reflected what the people are thinking about us (our performance). We feel this is a complete support from Warangal people who had also backed us during the statehood agitation and now," he said.
Alleging that the opposition Congress and the BJP-TDP combine "blindly opposed" the TRS government, Rao said they should learn their lessons and "behave constructively at least now".
Rao's son K Taraka Rama Rao, the Minister for Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and Information Technology, termed the victory as people's endorsement of the TRS government's rule in Telangana.
"At least after this endorsement by the people, the opposition parties should stop trying to defame the state government," Rama Rao said claiming that a section of media had also tried to malign the government.
Jubilant scenes were witnessed at Telangana Bhavan, the TRS headquarters here, with party workers bursting crackers and dancing to celebrate what is termed as better-than-expected result for the ruling outfit.
TRS leaders said victory was a "foregone conclusion" and the speculation was on how big the margin would be.
The Congress, in particular, had put up a spirited campaign, with senior party leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde, Meira Kumar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Digvijay Singh and Sachin Pilot addressing public meetings....