Analysts believe the formation of Telangana has helped the Congress party from a massive beating in the southern state, as some of the votes will sway in their favour. Bikash Mohapatra reports.
In the past, when it comes to the Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh’s contribution has been more or less straightforward. Traditionally considered to be a bastion of the Congress party, the state has made a significant contribution to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in the last two elections. In 2004, the coalition won 29 of the 42 seats and five years later, the number rose to 34.
However, things have changed since then owing to the formation of Telangana, which will consist of 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh and will be officially formed on June 2.
The 17 seats that went to polls in the seventh phase on April 30 will represent Telangana in the next elections, while the 25 constituencies that are to poll this Wednesday is what Andhra Pradesh (rather Seemandhra) will have to offer henceforth. Though this is final time the state will elect 42 candidates to the Lok Sabha, the demarcation is apparent.
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“The restructuring has changed the political map of Andhra Pradesh in every possible way. If the bifurcation hadn’t happened, the Congress this time would have been decimated in both the regions,” explains Dr Nageshwar, a former member of the legislative council.
“But owing to the bifurcation, the Congress will gain ground in Telangana. The Telugu Desam Party, on the other hand, has lost ground completely because of its ambivalent stand on the new state,” he adds.
Eminent political analyst Professor Vishweshwar concurs. “There are two states that we are talking about. Telengana needs to be mentioned separately even if it is technically not the case,” he explains, adding, “The Congress will make an impact in Telangana because it played a major role in its formation. The Telengana Rashtra Samiti will be second but the TDP won’t pass muster."
The former dean of Osmania University further added, “The difference is clear and apparent. The TDP is an Andhra party. Chandrababu Naidu didn’t have much confidence so he entered into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
Poll pundits add that while the Congress will continue to gain considerably in the new formed entity, its fortunes will suffer in the existing one. “TDP’s prospects have somewhat improved in Seemandhra,” admits Dr Nageshwar. “In fact, they might just fare better than the YSR Congress party. However, these elections will surely be a big blow to the UPA,” he explained, adding that the division of votes would lead to a helter skelter-type of situation at the time of forming the government.
Professor Vishweshwar concedes the results of the polls on Wednesday will be different from the 17 constituencies where polling is over. “In Andhra, the scenario will be completely different. The Congress will lose heavily in the state,” he says, adding, “The people in Andhra were against the bifurcation of the state, and as such hold the Congress party responsible. The votes will be divided between the TDP and the YSR Congress.”
He concluded, “In the last two elections, Andhra Pradesh had played a key role in the government formation at the Centre. It won’t be the case this time.”