The voting pattern, especially of the second-preference vote, in the just-concluded Andhra Pradesh MLC elections under the graduates’ quota in Andhra Pradesh, has thrown up a surprising realignment of the educated voters in the state.
While the Opposition TDP had won all three segments that went to poll on 13 March, the realignment may aid Jana Sena Party (JSP) supremo Pawan Kalyan’s proposal to have a grand alliance of sorts to take on the “mighty” ruling YSRCP in the 2024 elections — now just over a year away.
Creating a ‘grand alliance’
Pawan Kalyan has been proposing the need for Opposition parties in the state — TDP, the JSP, and the BJP — to join hands.
He once compared the need for such an alliance with “The Emergency” from the mid-1970s, when all the Opposition parties joined hands to take on the Congress.
However, the BJP is uninterested in any such proposal and wants to tie-up only with the JSP, without extending an olive branch to the TDP.
But it appears that the BJP voters are thinking otherwise. When it comes to their choice after the BJP, the saffron party’s supporters seem to prefer the TDP.
Also Read: Play big brother role in 2024 election, Pawan Kalyan tells Kapus
BJP voters give second preference to TDP
In these elections, the second-preference vote played an important role in deciding the winner in all three segments.
Interestingly, the majority of the second-preference votes of the BJP candidates that were counted in the three segments went to the TDP candidates.
A close look at the data shows that in the North Andhra graduates’ segment, 3,959 voters of BJP candidate PVN Madhav gave their second-preference vote to TDP, and only 1,414 of them gave it to the YSRCP candidate.
In East Rayalaseema, of those who voted first preference for the BJP candidate Sanna Dayakar Reddy, 2,004 gave their second preference to the TDP candidate, and 1,051 to the YSRCP candidate.
In West Rayalaseema, of BJP candidate Raghavendra Naganuru’s voters, 3,312 had given their second preference to the TDP and 1,237 to the YSRCP.
Where their hearts lie
Ganta Srinivasa Rao, TDP senior leader, former minister, and MLA from Visakhapatnam North, said that the MLC polls proved that there will be better results if there is no split in anti-YSRCP votes, as is being propagated by Jana Sena supremo Pawan Kalyan.
“The second-preference voting pattern of the BJP candidates only shows that their cadres’ heart in Andhra Pradesh is with the TDP. There is a need for all those who oppose the YSRCP to join hands. The BJP should also realise that if they don’t join hands with the TDP, they will end up doing injustice to Andhra Pradesh,” TDP MLC Gunapati Deepak Reddy told South First.
Also Read: Jolt to YSRCP as TDP tastes first victory, ahead of 2024 polls
AP MLC election results
Interestingly, in all three segments, the BJP’s candidates polled less than the votes that were invalid and, thus, lost their deposits.
If a candidate fails to secure at least one-sixth of the total polled valid votes, they will not get the deposit refund.
In the North Andhra graduates’ segment, the BJP candidate polled 11,270 votes, whereas the invalid votes were 12,795.
This seat was crucial for the BJP, which won it in 2017 with the support of the TDP. This time, the BJP banked on the support of the Jana Sena. But the JSP party workers stayed away from the BJP campaign.
In East Rayalaseema, the invalid votes were 20,979 and the BJP candidate there secured just 6,314 votes, while in West Rayalaseema, the invalid votes were 19,108 and the BJP candidate polled 7,494.
Notably, of the total 7,16,664 votes that were polled in the three segments, around 52,882 votes were declared invalid — that’s 7.37 percent of the total polled votes.
Also Read: YSRCP favours Backward Classes for MLC candidates in AP
While the total votes polled in the North Andhra segment were 2,01,812, the number of invalid votes was 12,795. In East Rayalaseema, total polled votes were 2,79,339 and the invalid votes were 20,979. West Rayalaseema polled 2,45,513 and the invalid votes were 19,108.
Counting staff found that these votes were declared invalid as the voters, instead of marking 1 and 2 in the order of preference against the names of the contesting candidates, had either marked a tick, gave a signature, circled the name, written the number preference in words, giving first preference to more than one candidate, etc.