Telangana's ruling party, the TRS, has retained its Nagarjuna Sagar seat successfully after its candidate, Nomula Bhagat, won the recently-held by-election with a comfortable lead of over 18,000 votes.
The margin reveals that the pink party managed to fend off its key rivals for the seat, the Congress' K Jana Reddy and the BJP's Panugothu Ravi Kumar Naik, with ease.
Bhagat maintained a steady lead in all 25 rounds of counting, which began early this morning, excluding one where he lagged behind by a negligible margin. He secured more than 89,000 votes in all.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, Bhagat's father, late Nomula Narsimhaiah, had won the seat with a majority of 7,771 votes after securing a total of 89,804 votes. Thus, the TRS has not only retained a key seat but has also registered a significant rise in its vote share.
On the other hand, veteran politician Jana Reddy who managed to get 70,932 votes, seems to have lost some of his supporters - the leader had received 75,000 votes in the 2018 elections.
However, keeping in mind the fact that things were hard for Jana Reddy, especially after he challenged his rivals to a "no-campaign election" which allowed them to repeatedly imply that the challenge was a tacit admission of the septuagenarian's inability to campaign, the fact that he came in second is remarkable. Also, after a series of major losses, this may signal that the Congress has been able to improve its electoral lot ever so slightly.
The BJP's performance after some big wins in earlier elections in Telangana, however, proves that it is yet to eke out a stable support base in the state.
The saffron party came in third after its candidate, Naik, managed to secure only 7,676 votes. The results clearly show that the BJP's strategy to bank on caste-based support, which it attempted to solicit by fielding an ST candidate, came to naught.
Following its stunning victory in the Dubbaka by-election
and its performance in the GHMC elections
last year, the BJP had been on cloud nine. The party's leaders had repeatedly declared that it was the only alternative to the TRS and was sure to come to power in the next Assembly elections.
Following this, many feel that the BJP's winning streak in Telangana has come to a grinding halt.
It is the TRS' turn to be on cloud nine now - with its win today, the party has managed to set a record by becoming the first party to hold on to a seat in a by-election since the formation of Telangana.