Exit polls predicting a second term for the Modi government have dampened spirits in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi camp, where the mood was subdued with hopes of playing a role in the event of a hung Parliament set to be dashed.
"What we predicted and our feeling was neither the NDA nor the UPA will get majority on its own. As per exit polls, what we visualised is not going to be correct," a senior leader of the chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led outfit said.
If the NDA were to return to power on its own strength as per the exit polls, Rao's push to forge a federal front of non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties will undoubtedly lose steam, said a political analyst.
During the Lok Sabha election campaign in Telangana, which has 17 seats, the TRS had repeatedly claimed that the party would play an important role in the government formation.
Rao had floated the federal front idea last year and met a number of leaders, including Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M K Stalin, Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik and Janata Dal-Secular chief H D Deve Gowda.
Rao had stepped up his efforts this month. In fact, ahead of the Lok Sabha election results this week, the TRS was hedging its bets and bracing for different post-poll scenarios, except majority for the NDA or the UPA, keeping its options open.
A senior TRS leader had said his party expects the Congress to not cross the 100-seats mark.
"If the Congress falls flat and does not cross 100, it does not make sense at all (to join forces with it) as it will not be able to lead (the government)", this leader said.
Sources had said the TRS response would depend on how the BJP and the Congress approach the situation in the event of the NDA or the UPA falling short of the majority mark.
"More importantly, they (BJP and Congress) would want to keep the other out from power," another TRS leader said. "We are keeping a close watch".
Sources in the TRS had said the party is unsure about the position non-Congress, non-BJP outfits would take vis-a-vis government formation.
"Five states (Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) and six leaders (Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and Rao) hold the key for government formation," a TRS functionary had claimed.
"We have to wait and see whether these leaders will be together or choose their own options," he said.
Sources in the TRS said the party had nothing to lose and "is not worried" as it's anyway "sitting pretty" in Telangana after returning to office last December.
But they had also said the TRS, which is projected to do well in the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana, might be pursued by the BJP or the Congress if the party's strength becomes crucial in government formation.