Hyderabad: The outcome of the first phase of panchayat elections on Tuesday was a relief to the Telangana Congress. While Telangana Rashtra Samiti-backed candidates won the election, Congress-supported candidates won around 1,000 panchayats out of more than 3,700 where elections were held. Parties do not contest panchayat elections but candidates are backed by various parties.
These results are giving the Congress some hope for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. Local-level Congress leaders who contested in the panchayat elections proved in this first phase that they are stronger than state level leaders who lost so disastrously in the Assembly elections last month.
In the first phase, elections were held for about 4,470 gram panchayats. In 700 panchayats, the election was unanimous, that is, there was only one candidate and no opponent. Elections were held in the remaining Panchayats. The Congress won a good number of panchayats in Sangareddy, Vikarabad, Khammam, and Nagarkunool districts.
In the Assembly elections, the People’s Front led by the Congress had swept Khammam district, where the TRS won only one seat. But, surprisingly, in these panchayat elections the TRS won a majority of seats in Khammam district. In the first phase of panchayat polls, elections were held in 362 panchayats and TRS-supported candidates won 150, and Congress-supported candidates won 79 panchayats.
In Bhadradri district, out of 174 panchayats the TRS won 70 and Congress 29 and in Khammam district out of 188 Panchayats TRS won 80 and Congress won 50.
In Nalgonda and Suryapet districts, the Congress won 57 and 48 panchayats respectively. In Adilabad, Manchiryal, Wanaparthi, Medchal, Nizamabad, Siddipet and Warangal Urban districts, the Congress made a poor showing.
There are two more phases of the Panchayat elections. The second and third phase of elections will take place on January 25 and January 30. The panchayat elections have proved that in some districts the Congress has strong cadres at village level.
Congress leaders are of the opinion that voters give preference to national parties rather than regional parties in Lok Sabha elections so the party should do better. It hopes to win five Lok Sabha seats — Khammam, Mahabubabad, Zaheerabad, Bhongir and Chevella. The TRS is aiming for 16 Lok Sabha seats out of the total 17, leaving one seat for the MIM, a friendly party....