Less than an hour after the Election Commission announced that the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh successfully won the Nandyal bye-poll, YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy addressed media persons in Hyderabad on his party's loss.
The TDP defeated the Opposition YSRCP party in the state, with a margin of over 27,000 votes.
Jagan, who is also the Leader of Opposition, was watching the counting of votes from his Lotus Pond residence in Hyderabad, which doubles up as the party headquarters.
Addressing media persons after the result, Jagan began by thanking voters, who had voted for his party.
"They (TDP) sent men to voters and said 'here is your aadhar card, and here is your pension. We will cut your pension if you don't vote for us.' Despite that, the voters were not intimidated and they voted for us. In between so many problems and threats, they stood strong and I thank them for that," he said.
There were 15 candidates in the fray, including Brahmananda Reddy of the TDP, Silpa Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress and Abdul Khader from the Congress.
Silpa Mohan Reddy had defected from the TDP, following which his brother, Silpa Chakrapani Reddy, also resigned from his MLC seat and switched loyalties.
"To Silpa Mohan Reddy and Silpa Chakrapani Reddy, I want to say that, even though they knew that they would lose their seat, they resigned from their post and then switched to YSRCP from the TDP. Hats off to them," Jagan said.
Lashing out at Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan said, "If Naidu considers this a victory, then its ironical. All the journalists followed the campaign with me. I asked the people questions, and they replied with their honest answers. They know about the promises he made, and the people he cheated."
He went on to add, "Despite that, the only way Naidu won, was because this was not a general election. People know that if they oppose Naidu now, he is still going to remain in power till 2019 and they have to bear him till then."
Jagan also alleged that "some people got scared, while others took money, and voted for him."
With the latest result, the TDP has stormed into the constituency in the Rayalaseema region of the state, which has historically been viewed as a Congress bastion, and later a YSRCP stronghold.
"He may have won the elections, but it is not a victory for him at all. If he still thinks this is a victory, he is a fool," Jagan said.
The bye-poll was necessitated after the death of Bhuma Nagi Reddy, who had quit the YSR Congress party along with this daughter Bhuma Akhila Priya, to join the ruling TDP in 2016.
However, the duo was part of 20 sitting legislators who defected over a span of the last three years.
Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu even swore in Akhila as the stateā€™s new Tourism Minister.
Akhila was at the forefront of the campaign along with her cousin, Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, who was the TDP candidate.
The stakes were high for both the parties as the result is seen as a referendum on the performance of TDP-BJP government and indicate which way the wind may blow in the 2019 Assembly Election.
When asked by reporters if he saw this as a referendum, Jagan lashed out saying, "How can this be considered a referendum? It's a small bye-election, for which he spent more than Rs 200 crore and made all his cabinet ministers live in Nandyal for weeks. He also scared policemen to 'obey' his orders."
Addressing Naidu, he added, "How is this a referendum? Consider the 20 defectors who switched to the TDP after being elected from our party. Bring all of them together and hold bye-elections in 20 places, and we'll see how you'll spend 4,000 crore and be able to scare the police in all the places. That will be a referendum."
The YSRCP's defeat came after a heated campaign between the two main parties in the state, with both of them treating it as a battle for prestige.
The constituency witnessed a high-voltage and acrimonious campaign led by Naidu and Jagan.
Both party chiefs made sensational statements, with Naidu telling voters, "You are taking the pension I am giving, using roads we have built, taking rations that we give, benefiting from our schemes, then why should you not support us politically?"
On the other hand, Jagan went more than one step further, saying, "Naidu should be shot dead for cheating people of Andhra Pradesh and his false promises and double-speak on every issue."
He also called for the CM's 'hanging' twice.
After his defeat, Jagan concluded saying, "He (Naidu) has hit us, politically. We are braving it. Our time will also come, and we will hit back.