In what started off as a one-sided skirmish in Seemandhra now is promising to become a full-fledged battle. There are only two players here -- the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party -- and it is going to be a direct battle between them. Vicky Nanjappa reveals finds out the ground level situation for these two parties, and more interestingly how they are both fighting for the fallen legacy of the Congress in order to win the battle.
Both these parties know that the Congress is not a factor in Seemandhra. Both the YSRCP and the TDP have fought with each other for the vote share of the Congress which was humongous in the 2009 elections.
After the collapse of the Congress in Seemandhra, many leaders and cadres have moved away from the party. Many would have expected Jagan to grab these people and play godfather to them, but he did not. According to Jagan, most of the Congress leaders are useless and it was a better bet to take the vote share without touching the leadership.
The TDP on the other hand has dealt with the Congress issue differently. Naidu chose to take the organisational base of the Congress with him. However, analysts would say that it was not a very smart move because he could rely on the Congress votes as they are normally anti-TDP and pro-YSRCP.
On the face of it, would appear that the TDP has gained immensely in urban Seemandhra, whereas Jagan’s YSR Congress still has the edge in the rural areas.
There has been a major change in the thinking of the people in urban areas. In the urban belts of Seemandhra, the TDP has bounced back in a big way. In the existing scenario, where the building of a new capital is very important to the urban belt, they feel Chandrababu Naidu is a better choice when compared with Jagan. Many in the educated class feel that Naidu had done a good job where Hyderabad was concerned, and could replicate it in Seemandhra as well.
Earlier, there was a bit of anger that Naidu had not done enough to stall the bifurcation, but the people have moved on now, and want a better state. And this has helped Naidu a great deal.
Jagan, on the other side, enjoys a lot of support in the rural areas. The rural class, women, SC/ST and minorities are all on his side. In rural Seemadhra, the YSR Rajasekara Reddy effect has not faded off as yet and Jagan has capitalised on that. Another major advantage for Jagan is that corruption is not an issue at all in rural Seemandhra.
On the corruption issue he has lost out a bit in the urban areas, but there has been more sympathy than negative impact in the rural belt.
But is the urban vote enough to get Naidu through? This segment comprises anything between 20 to 25 per cent when compared with the 75 to 80 per cent of rural vote. While the urban advantage for Naidu is a big step forward, he also has a great amount of following in some of the rural areas where caste is a major factor. He could well turn it into a Kamma vs Reddy battle and could reap the benefits. Other factors, such as actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi’s brother Pawan Kalyan and his coastal campaign will also make a difference for Naidu.