AP headed for multi-cornered contest

March 11, 2019 | News Of 9

Andhra Pradesh appeared headed for a multi-cornered contest in the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 11, a do-or-die battle for major political parties, including ruling TDP.

Over 3.71 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise for electing 25 Lok Sabha members and 175 members of the state assembly in the polls, the first after the state was bifurcated to create Telangana.

With no major alliances on cards till now, the state is poised to witness a multi-cornered contest as the main parties, including ruling TDP and main opposition YSR Congress, are expected to jump into the fray on their own.

For the TDP, which won the 2014 elections comfortably, retaining power is crucial while for the principal opposition YSR Congress its a must-win situation to ensure its political sustainability.

The Congress is seeking a resurrection in Andhra after the rout it suffered post-bifurcation of the state in 2014.

Stakes are not high for the BJP, but it is seeking to make a point on its relevance in the states political landscape.

While the main fight will be between the TDP and the YSRC, all eyes are on Jana Sena as it could alter the fortunes of either party by splitting the votes, particularly that of a dominant community that tilted the scales in favour of TDP in 2014.

In 2014, the TDP had an alliance with the BJP and the combine was supported by the Jana Sena Party of  Pawan Kalyan. Jana Sena did not contest any seats then.

Now, the TDP has severed ties with the BJP while the Jana Sena is set to fight the elections for the first time in alliance with the CPI and the CPI-M.

Though the TDP forged an alliance with the Congress for the assembly elections in neighbouring Telangana in December last year, the tie-up broke after the Congress debacle in that state.

The Congress leadership blamed the TDP for the rout in Telangana and, accordingly, decided to go it alone in AP.

Both parties will, however, work together at the national level.

Like in 2014, the YSRC has no allies this time either.

In the last elections, of the 175 assembly seats, the TDP had won 102, YSRC 67, BJP 4, Navodayam Party 1 and an independent one.

Of the 25 Lok Sabha seats, the TDP bagged 15, YSRC 8 and BJP 2.

In the Assembly polls, the TDP polled 44.61 per cent of votes while the YSRC got 44.58 per cent.

The BJPs 2.18 per cent vote share made all the difference, enabling the TDP to clinch power.

The Congress which ruled AP for 10 years from 2004 managed only 2.77 per cent votes in 2014 as people of Seemaandhra punished it for dividing the state.

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