Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSRCP, courtesy: FB
Wafer thin margins have resulted in extreme outcomes in Andhra, and this time too, it could be no different.
Andhra Pradesh, where simultaneous voting took place in phase one for the 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats, has come to occupy a unique political stature thanks to the face off between tough adversaries trying to outsmart each other, by claiming a wafer-thin vote edge of as little as over two per cent. This is similar to what happened in 2014, in united AP, when friends-now-foes TDP and the BJP fought together. That’s where the puzzle of victory lies.
On Thursday, as the polling went into the night owing to stray objections, EVM malfunction and violence, the polling percentage of nearly 80 per cent, as per initial estimates, only complicated prognostication. A difference of just above two per cent votes had helped Telugu Desam Party storm to power in the state in 2014, when 78.66 per cent turnout was recorded.
Facing anti-incumbency, the TDP this time, faces a resurgent YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). The two parties are contesting all 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats on their own.
The TDP, which severed ties with the BJP last year, may find it difficult to repeat the 2014 performance. But party leaders hope for a division of anti-incumbency votes among actor Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena-led alliance, the Congress and BJP.
On the other hand, the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP is confident of improving their vote share of 2014. It hopes that the Jana Sena-BSP-CPI-CPI-M alliance, Congress and BJP would cut into TDP votes.
In 2014, the TDP-BJP combine had polled 46.79 percent votes (TDP 44.61 per cent, BJP 2.18 per cent) and bagged 106 seats (TDP 102 and BJP 4). The YSR Congress Party had secured 67 seats with 44.58 per cent votes. Thus, there was a difference of just 2.21 per cent votes between the two, but it was enough for the TDP to win 35 more Assembly seats and come to power.
The Congress, which drew a blank, polled 2.77 per cent votes, while independents won two seats and secured 1.77 per cent votes.
In the Lok Sabha polls, the TDP-BJP combine with 47.7 per cent votes, won 17 (TDP 15, BJP 2) seats, while YSRCP secured eight seats with 45.4 per cent votes.
The YSRCP, formed by Jagan in 2011 after quitting the Congress, replaced the latter as the key political force in the previous election.
The Congress, which had 40.7 per cent vote share in 2009, slumped to 2.8 per cent as the party drew a blank in both the Lok Sabha and the Assembly, due to public anger over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, that led to creation of Telangana.