In a shock to Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) bagged a seat of Legislative Council from MLA quota in the elections held on Thursday.
TDP's lone candidate Panchumarthi Anuradha won the election by securing 23 votes, one more than the required number.
YSRCP won six seats but its seventh candidate Jayamangala Venkataramna suffered shock defeat.
With the cross-voting of two rebel MLAs of YSRCP, the TDP secured two more votes from the ruling party.
All 175 members of the Assembly cast their votes and the counting was taken up in the evening.
YSRCP's V.V. Surya Narayana Raju, Pothula Sunitha, Bommi Israel, Chandragiri Yesuratnam and Marri Rajasekhar were elected as they secured 22 votes each. The other two candidates Kola Guruvulu and Jayamangala Venkataramna were polled 21 votes each but Kola Guruvulu was declared elected on the basis of second preference votes.
The result came as a big setback to Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP, which was confident of a clean sweep.
In the 175-member Assembly, YSRCP has 151 members and it was confident of securing votes of four rebel MLAs of TDP and the lone MLA of Jana Sena Party (JSP).
TDP, which had 23 seats in the Assembly, was left with 19 members as four others had switched sides to YSRCP.
Both the parties had issued whips to their members. YSRCP had taken all precautions by giving clear instructions to the MLAs about the candidates they have to vote for. The ruling party swiftly began an exercise to identify the black sheep.
The win has given TDP a big moral victory. It comes close on the heels of winning three graduates' constituencies in the recently held Council elections.
When the voting began on Thursday morning, TDP leader Nimmala Kistappa claimed that 16 MLAs of YSRCP are in touch with them. The ruling party, however, dismissed the claim as a mind game being played by the opposition.
Celebrations broke out in the TDP camp after Thursday's win. Large number of TDP leaders gathered at party president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu's residence.
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