SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

PM invites support of all secular parties
Asks Rahul to join govt
New Delhi, May 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited the support of all secular parties, asking them to forget “past disputes” and come together to give the country a strong and stable government.

Advani’s dream shattered
New Delhi, May 16
Is it the end of the road for the BJP’s ‘Lohpurush’ (Iron Man)? As L K Advani’s dream to become Prime Minister lay shattered today, speculation was rife in political circles on whether it was time for the 81-year-old leader to say good-bye to active politics.


                                 End of the road?

BJP generous in defeat
New Delhi, May 16
It was in May 2004 when the BJP/NDA was voted out of power after a six-year stint and for months it refused to come to terms with its defeat.


EARLIER STORIES

Prakash KaratFall of the Marxist
New Delhi, May 16
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat was not quite himself today when he conceded the worst-ever defeat faced by the Left in its entire political history. That it comes under his stewardship only adds to his embarrassment.
                                                                              Prakash Karat


Prominent Losers

The winners and the losers
Sonia, Rahul, Advani win; Lalu loses Patliputra, Paswan faces defeat
New Delhi, May 16
Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee (Jangipur), BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani (Gandhinagar), BJP president Rajnath Singh (Ghaziabad), Varun Gandhi (Pilibhit), Maneka Gandhi (Aonla), National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and CPM bete noire in West Bengal Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee were among the prominent winners in the results declared for 16th Lok Sabha today.

Bihar has voted for peace, progress: Nitish
Patna, May 16
Buoyed over the spectacular performance of NDA in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said that the people had voted for peace and development.

Third Front and its creator face rejection
New Delhi, May 16
Not too long before, the Left leadership had assembled outside the residence of BSP chief Mayawati in the Capital to project the purported strength of the Third Front. It was a Kodak moment, which the media savoured as did the politicians who were a part of it.

AP Assembly Poll
King Cong on song

Hyderabad, May 16
Beating the anti-incumbency factor, the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh is all set to come back to power, bagging over 155 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

Bring peace in Lanka: Karuna to Centre
Chennai, May 16
Armed with a spectacular victory in Tamil Nadu, defying all predictions, DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the first duty of the new Union government would be to stop the war in Sri Lanka and bring peace in the island.

Debut Delight

Name: Varun Gandhi
Party: BJP
Seat: Pilibhit
Name: Mohd Azharuddin
Party: Congress
Seat:Moradabad
Name: Harsimrat Badal
Party: SAD
Seat: Bathinda
Shashi Tharoor
Name: Shashi Tharoor
Party: Congress
Seat: Thiruvanthapuram



Others
Name: Supriya Sule
Party: NCP
Seat: Baramati

Name: Ashok Tanwar
Party: Congress
Seat: Sirsa
Name: Shruti Choudhry
Party: Congress
Seat: Bhiwani-Mahendragarh
Name: Ravneet Bittu
Party: Congress
Seat: Anandpur Sahib

 
Congress workers celebrate the UPA’s victory in the LS elections at Gandhi Bhawan in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Congress workers celebrate the UPA’s victory in the LS elections at Gandhi Bhawan in Hyderabad on Saturday. — PTI

 

 

 

The results are not along expected lines and the reasons for the party's defeat will be analysed in detail… The party believes in sharing collective responsibility of victory and defeat… Not only us, but even UPA and Congress never expected such a result.

— Sushma Swaraj, BJP

 

The decision to contest elections without Congress on our side was a big mistake and I acknowledge it. However, it is a matter of great happiness for me that the UPA is all set to form its government at the Centre.

— Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD

 

It would have been better if both the Congress and the SP had contested the elections in UP together. We would have wiped out the BSP.

— Amar Singh, SP





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PM invites support of all secular parties
Asks Rahul to join govt
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited the support of all secular parties, asking them to forget “past disputes” and come together to give the country a strong and stable government.

Singh, when he went to call on Congress Preseident Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence this afternoon, said, “All secular parties should forget their past disputes and come together to give the country a strong and stable government. We should stand one as a nation,” he said, responding to the media’s query regarding what his message was to its estranged UPA ally---the Left.

Clearly the man of the moment, Singh also urged Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi to join the government as he applauded the young Gandhi’s role in the party’s victory. Flanked by a beaming Congress President, he said, “I have tried to persuade Rahul that he should be in the Cabinet. That is still my wish and I would like to persuade him to do so.”

Answering a question on what role she saw for son Rahul, Sonia said the decision was for the Prime Minister to take. “That decision is for the Prime Minister to take,” said Sonia whom the Prime Minister credited with having provided visionary leadership to the party and steering it to a convincing win.

The Prime Minister thanked the people of the country and applauded the role Sonia and Rahul had played in the Congress’ election victory. “People of India have spoken and spoken with clarity. They have expressed their faith in the Indian National Congress. We have won the elections under the visionary leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the youthful leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Our hearts go out to the generosity of the people. We express thanks to them for having reposed faith in us,” the Prime Minister said, promising to give the people of the country a “caring government which will work for sustained and equitable government.

Sonia also thanked people for reposing their faith in the party. “I would like to thank the people for reposing their faith in the Congress party. Once again people of India know what is good for them and they always make the right choice,” she said.

“Once again our gratitude to them... as the Prime Minister has said, we have certain promises in our 2004 manifesto and in the CMP. Under his leadership, we worked very hard to fulfil those promises. People have appreciated the fact and reposed their faith in us,” she added.

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Advani’s dream shattered
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Is it the end of the road for the BJP’s ‘Lohpurush’ (Iron Man)?

As L K Advani’s dream to become Prime Minister lay shattered today, speculation was rife in political circles on whether it was time for the 81-year-old leader to say good-bye to active politics.

The elections to the 15th Lok Sabha was perhaps the last opportunity for him to take a shot at the Prime Ministership. But it was not to be. He may have won the Gandhinagar seat but that cannot be even considered a consolation prize for him.

On his part, Advani was gracious in the BJP’s defeat as he personally telephoned both UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and congratulated them on the UPA’s spectacular victory.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said Advani had expressed his desire not to become the Leader of the Opposition again. The party had not accepted his request and BJP president Rajnath Singh would speak to him.

But credit must be given to Advani for the phenomenal growth of the BJP. It was Advani who had catapulted the BJP into the centrestage of Indian politics with his Hindu nationalist pitch in the 1990s when he emerged as the mascot of the Ayodhya movement. It was largely due to Advani that the BJP took its strength from just two MPs in 1984 to 125 seats in 1991.

While his senior and close friend Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of the masses who could hypnotise the crowds with his oratorial skills, Advani was always the organisational man, who preferred to play a second fiddle to Vajpayee.

Although the BJP tasted power in 1998, it was Vajpayee who became the Prime Minister. Again in 1999, it was Vajpayee who headed the NDA coalition while Advani became the home minister. He subsequently was made the deputy prime minister.

The NDA performed reasonably well during its five-year term but lost power in the 2004 elections. Realising that the ‘Hindutva’ card had outlived its utility for the BJP as was evident from the 2004 election outcome, Advani later tried to position himself as a secular leader by visiting Pakistan and praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah there. This was a move, which backfired and earned him the wrath of even the RSS. He lost the presidentship of the party but continued as the Leader of the Opposition.

Advani spared no effort to reach out to every nook and corner of the country in what perhaps was his last attempt to fulfill his long-cherished dream of occupying the nation’s top job. But what may have caused damage to his own reputation was his personalised campaign against Manmohan Singh.

The nation’s youth, it seems, is quite appreciative of what Manmohan Singh has done. His mild manners, sincerity and commitment to his job have won him supporters even among his adversaries. Manmohan now basks in the glory of his triumph while Advani considers retirement.

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BJP generous in defeat
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

BJP headquarters in New Delhi wore a deserted look after the party’s poor performence in the Lok Sabha elections.
BJP headquarters in New Delhi wore a deserted look after the party’s poor performence in the Lok Sabha elections. A Tribune photograph

New Delhi, May 16
It was in May 2004 when the BJP/NDA was voted out of power after a six-year stint and for months it refused to come to terms with its defeat.

The BJP described the 2004 mandate as a fractured one. This time round, the first thing BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani did after realising that the Congress was doing far better than them was to pick up the phone and call up both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and congratulate them.

The party’s formal reaction after the Parliamentary Board meeting, spelt out later by party general secretary Arun Jaitley, was on similar lines.

He said: “The BJP believes that the best mandate to rule is in favour of the UPA ,” and added, “The UPA should be invited to form the government.”

Uncharacteristically the statement also said: “The BJP congratulates both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on this electoral victory.”

Having made a big issue for last two years of the UPA government’s inability to tackle the economy and terrorism, the BJP offered its support this time round specifically keeping these two objectives in mind.

Jaitely said: “India needs political stability. It needs to put the national economy on track. It needs to strengthen national security. For these challenges people have given a mandate to the UPA leadership to govern. The BJP and its allies while acting as a constructive Opposition will fully cooperate with the government in strengthening India.”

For days in advance, BJP headquarters wore a festive look with its prime ministerial candidate LK Advani peering down from giant size billboards with captions conveying the impression that he was the natural and the only claimant to the Prime Minister’s post.

By today noon, as it became clear that there was no scope for this anymore, many of these bill boards were hastily removed. And in the same spirit, Advani too moved forward to propose that he be excused from donning the post of Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha.

Jaitley disclosed that at the Parliamentary board meeting, “Advani said he did not want to be elected as the Leader of Opposition of the 15th Lok Sabha. The party, however, did not agree with him.”

Jaitely did not entertain questions on possible replacement to Advani, but BJP headquarters was abuzz with speculations about who will inherit Advani’s mantle. Unlike the 14th Lok Sabha, when most BJP leaders were Rajya Sabha members, this time round many of them, including Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Yashwant Sinha and Murli Manohar Joshi, have all got elected to the Lower House and there might be as many claimants to this top parliamentary post now.

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Fall of the Marxist
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat was not quite himself today when he conceded the worst-ever defeat faced by the Left in its entire political history. That it comes under his stewardship only adds to his embarrassment.

Sombre mood prevailed today at A.K. Gopalan Bhawan, the CPM headquarters in Delhi, which had emerged as “the place to watch” in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections on account of the performance expected from the party.

With his much-hyped anti-Congress, anti-BJP stand, loaded rhetoric around the possibility of a third alternative, and thoroughly inflexible approach to UPA’s foreign and economic policy, Karat was hoping to play his predecessor Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the kingmaker of coalition politics in India.

“We will not repeat 2004,” he had proclaimed on supporting the Congress, in a recent interview to The Tribune. Karat’s words have come true, though not quite in the way he would have wanted them to. Dictating terms to the Congress until a few days ago, the CPM’s youngest general secretary was today seen searching for answers to the massive losses his party suffered, even in its trusted bastions of Kerala and West Bengal, where it confessed to having faced the “worst ever defeat in history”. The Left was down today to 23 seats from its 2004 strength of 61.

And this has happened with Karat at the heart of the Left’s strategy -- right from his decision to withdraw support to the Congress to his fascination for parties like the BSP, AIADMK, TDP and the JDS who have earlier done business with the NDA, which the Left calls “communal”.

With the CPM’s campaign ringing hollow with voters, there is a view within the party now that someone must accept responsibility for the defeat. Veteran communist Somnath Chatterjee today went to the extent of suggesting that the CPM must seriously consider changing its “narcissistic leadership which is out of touch with ground realities” and “ponder whether withdrawal of support to the Congress did the party any good.”

The hint was for Karat to understand, though the CPM top brass today rooted for their general secretary, saying it would be unfair to apportion the blame on one individual. “Success has many fathers; failures is an orphan,” said CPM leader Nilotpal Basu, admitting that the party would have to collectively dissect its performance to see what went wrong where.”

But that does not take the blame away from Karat, who has been viewed from day one as a “puritan Marxist, an ideologue, with little political skills to deal with non-communist parties.” The moment he assumed office in 2005 as the party's general secretary, he began singing the “third alternative” tune. In that sense then, it would be wrong to say that Karat decided to pull together the non-Congress secular parties only after divorcing the Congress.

He had in fact set this (Third Front) as his agenda four years ago. Only he did not know how to fulfil his mission, as was clear today when he admitted defeat.

What way things go for Karat and how the CPM’s West Bengal wing reacts to party’s defeat in its bastion would be known on May 18, when the Politburo meets to take stock of the situation. Many leaders in the Bengal unit were opposed to Karat’s inflexible anti-Congress stand from the beginning. It’s their time now to ask questions.

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The winners and the losers
Sonia, Rahul, Advani win; Lalu loses Patliputra,
Paswan faces defeat
Tribune News Service

Ram Vilas Paswan
LJP
Ram Vilas Paswan

Others who lost in fray

Lalu Prasad: Patliputra (Bihar)
Janardhana Poojary: Dakshina Kannada (Karnataka)
Vaiko: Virudunagar (Tamil Nadu)
AR Antulay: Raigarh (Maharashtra)
Sajjad Lone: Baramulla
Shankarsinh Vagela: Panchmahals (Gujarat)
S. Bangarappa: Shimoga (K’taka)
Mohammed Salim: Kolkata Uttar
Hannan Mollah: Uluberia (WB)
Giridhar Gomango: Koraput (Orissa)
Rajiv Pratap Rudy: Saran (Bihar)
Ram Naik: Mumbai North 

New Delhi, May 16
Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee (Jangipur), BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani (Gandhinagar), BJP president Rajnath Singh (Ghaziabad), Varun Gandhi (Pilibhit), Maneka Gandhi (Aonla), National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and CPM bete noire in West Bengal Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee were among the prominent winners in the results declared for 16th Lok Sabha today.

While there was high drama at Home Minister P Chidambaram’s constituency Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, where AIADMK candidate’s supporters clashed with the police after the Congress leader was declared winner in the recount after initially being declared as lost, there was also drama at the all important Rampur seat where Samajwadi Party’s (SP) actress-turned politician Jayaprada emerged as the winner after trailing almost through the counting session to Congress candidate Noor Bano.

Other prominent leaders who emerged as winners included NCP’s Sharad Pawar (Madha), SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (Saran), Kalyan Singh (Etah), Ajit Singh (Baghpat) and Sharad Yadav (Madhepura). Lalu’s party, however, could not do too well and forced the RJD chief to admit that breaking away from the Congress was a big mistake.

There was, however, surprise in store for Lalu’s Fourth Front partner and LJP’s chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who suffered a humiliating defeat in his stronghold Hajipur in Bihar. Incidentally, Lalu also lost from the second constituency Pataliputra.

Among the other prominent losers were Congress leader Janardhana Poojary, former minister Margaret Alva, MDMK leader Vaiko, Panchayati Raj Minister in the UPA government Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kashmir’s separatist leader Sajjad Lone, and another Congress minister Renuka Chowdhury.

Industry Minister Kamal Nath (Chhindwara), Veerappa Moily (Chikaballapur), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna), Sachin Pilot (Ajmer), Yashwant Sinha (Hazaribagh), Jaswant Singh (Darjeeling), Sushma Swaraj (Vidisha) and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda were among the other prominent party candidates who emerged as winners from their constituencies.

But the news was not good for former Defence Minister and JD(S) leader who, against the wishes of his party, fought the election from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, as an Independent. At the time of going to the press he was still trailing in his constituency.

Prominent winners

Lalu Prasad — Saran (Bihar)
Rajnath Singh — Ghaziabad
Mamata Banerjee — Kolkata Dakshin
Varun Gandhi — Pilibhit
HD Deve Gowda — Hassan (Karnataka)
Jaya Prada — Rampur (Uttar Pradesh)
Shatrughan Sinha — Patna Sahib
Priya Dutt — Mumbai (North Central)
Shashi Tharoor — Thiruvananthapuram
P. Chidambaram — Sivaganga (Tamil Nadu)
Jaswant Singh — Darjeeling
Pranab Mukherjee — Jangipur
Sachin Pilot — Ajmer
Harsimrat Kaur — Bathinda
Sharad Pawar — Madha (Maharashtra)
Sharad Yadav — Madhepura (Bihar)
Praful Patel — Bhandara Gondia (Maharashtra)
Farooq Abdullah — Srinagar
Kalyan Singh — Etah
Yashwant Sinha — Hazaribagh (Jharkhand)
Milind Deora — Mumbai South
Jyotiraditya Scindia — Guna-Shivpuri (MP)
M Manohar Joshi — Varanasi
Shahnawaz Hussain — Bhagalpur (Bihar)
Maneka Gandhi — Aonla
Navin Jindal — Kurukshetra

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Bihar has voted for peace, progress: Nitish
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 16
Buoyed over the spectacular performance of NDA in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said that the people had voted for peace and development.

It was a positive vote for his government’s performance in restoring social harmony and improving the law and order scenario in the state during the last three years, said Nitish.

Regarding RJD and LJP’s dismal show, Nitish said the people of Bihar had rejected the negative politics of Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. He charged both of them with spending most of their time in criticising him and his government instead of thinking and working for the development of Bihar. He said that being powerful ministers in the Union Cabinet, the duo could have done a lot of good work in this state.

Citing Paswan’s criticism of him just a day ago on the demand for special category status for Bihar, the Bihar Chief Minister said that people like Paswan and Lalu should read the writing on the wall.

Nitish parried questions pertaining to the poor performance of NDA in other states with the plea that he had restricted himself only to Bihar and hence he could not speak about other states.

On his expectations from the next UPA government at the Centre, Nitish said that they had promised to accord a special category status to Bihar and he would expect them to keep their words now.

On their part, RJD chief Lalu Yadav and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan accepted that the people of Bihar had voted against them. However, they expressed their happiness over the UPA’s splendid performance.

Lalu also accepted that it was a mistake on their part to break their alliance with the Congress. Both Lalu and Paswan said that they would hold a meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi tomorrow.

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Third Front and its creator face rejection
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Not too long before, the Left leadership had assembled outside the residence of BSP chief Mayawati in the Capital to project the purported strength of the Third Front. It was a Kodak moment, which the media savoured as did the politicians who were a part of it.

Only two months later, that moment is history, with the voters today rejecting the idea of a third alternative and reducing to smithereens all its votaries, who ended up in the final tally with 55 Lok Sabha seats - 37 seats down from the last elections.

It was the worst defeat for the Left, with the CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI chief AB Bardhan accepting the verdict as a vote for the Congress and conceding to sit in the opposition. “We will sit in the opposition and fight for pro-poor policies,” said Bardhan, while Karat said the party would on May 18 review reasons for its defeat in its bastions, Kerala and West Bengal.

Neither of the two, however, seemed to understand the message behind the verdict, as they insisted upon continuing to cooperate with “Third Front” partners, despite the country today voting for a “two-party system”. In doing so, the electorate proved the Congress and BJP right. While the former had been dismissing the Third Front as a dream, the latter had been talking of “two-party system” being the only possibility in India, as also advocated by the Constituent assembly.

That explains today’s vote against the Third Front, with the Left coming down to 23 seats against 61 in the 14th Lok Sabha; the BSP managing only 20 against the 50 expected; the AIADMK finishing at an embarrassing eight in Tamil Nadu despite anti-incumbency and the TDP not getting beyond five in Andhra Pradesh. The JDS, with four seats, is already itching for the Congress’ benevolence to survive the BJP in Karnataka.

The only Third Front partner that managed a fair show today was Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, with 13 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Orissa, and a majority in the Orissa assembly. Patnaik was also the only one who sang the Left’s tune today of not supporting a Congress-led or a BJP-led government at the Centre. “We won’t shift from our stated position,” said the Orissa Chief Minister.

But back in the Capital, there were few buyers for the Left’s viewpoint, with the most scathing criticism coming from former member and outgoing LS Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. Terming today’s verdict as a “decisive one for stability and progress”, Chatterjee asked his friends in the Left to do serious introspection on the matter of leadership in the party. He stopped short of asking Karat to step down, owning moral responsibility.“This is a very serious situation - one which the CPM did not even face in 1984 when it lost several seats following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. There is a need for change of leadership in the CPM, which has lost touch with ground realities. It is time to get real,” Chatterjee said, terming as “disastrous” the Left’s idea of distancing itself from the Congress to align with forces that have earlier worked with the BJP.

“The party leadership needs to come out of ivory towers and understand why they are losing touch with the people; why the voters of West Bengal rejected them despite their best development model,” he said, ruling out his chances of joining the CPM or the Congress. The former Marxist further indicated that it was not too late for the CPM to build bridges with the Congress: “It would be good to consolidate secular forces.”

The Left parties for their part stood humbled, with Bardhan admitting: “Our expectations have not been fulfilled.... Congress is in a position to form government. Let it form. We will sit in the opposition.”

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AP Assembly Poll
King Cong on song
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 16
Beating the anti-incumbency factor, the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh is all set to come back to power, bagging over 155 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

In a triumph of populism, the Congress rode to power on the back of a plethora of welfare schemes, particularly targeting rural masses. Needing 148 seats for a simple majority, the Congress, which went to polls all alone on development plank, emerged victorious in 155 seats.

The four-party opposition alliance, christened as “Maha Kootami” (Grand Alliance), won 103 seats, far short of the magic figure. The opposition alliance comprised Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI and CPM.

The biggest upset in the elections was the poor performance of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi’s fledgling Praja Rajyam Party, which managed to win only 18 seats. Despite the hype and star power, Chiranjeevi himself was defeated in Palakollu Assembly constituency in his native West Godavari district.

He, however, won from the temple town of Tirupati by a margin of 10,000 votes. Though the Telugu superstar was widely believed to emerge as a “kingmaker” in deciding the shape of the next government, his political show turned out to be a flop.

The rejection of Telangana statehood cause was another big message that emanated from the elections. The TRS, which was in the forefront of the movement for separate Telangana state, came a cropper and managed to win only 10 out of 48 seats it contested in the region.

The left parties have also fared badly, managing to win only five seats. The TDP bagged 88 seats. It has now emerged that the entry of Chiranjeevi has led to a split in the anti-establishment votes, thereby benefiting Congress across the three regions of the state-Telangana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra. The internal differences within Grand Alliance, wrangle over seat-sharing, mutual distrust and failure to highlight public issues were among the factors responsible for the poor performance of the opposition grouping.

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Bring peace in Lanka: Karuna to Centre
Tribune News Service

Chennai, May 16
Armed with a spectacular victory in Tamil Nadu, defying all predictions, DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the first duty of the new Union government would be to stop the war in Sri Lanka and bring peace in the island.

Though the island government announced that it would stop the war after the fast undertaken by him on April 27, the military offensive was continuing, he said in a statement here.

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