Andhra: Indian Poll League begins tomorrow
By  Shimon Chadha | Updated:  Apr 10, 2019, 11:58 AM
Andhra Pradesh is one of the four states in the country which will conduct assembly elections tomorrow, simultaneously with the general elections. All 25 Lok Sabha constituencies, and 175 State Assembly constituencies, will have polling solely in the first phase, on April 11.
The main fight, as it is in most southern states of the country, is between the regional parties.
The major contestants in 2014 were the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party. A new strong contestant this time seems to be the Jana Sena Party, launched by former cinema superstar Pawan Kalyan. The JSP had, in the previous elections, supported the BJP-TDP alliance, and had contributed a considerable share of votes to the alliance.
The JSP factor is one which has not been studied before, and there are multiple reports claiming that it might just sway the election result, especially with its popular leader Kalyan himself contesting from two seats. The party is allying with Left parties such as the CPI and the CPM.
The TDP, which is in power currently, is not allying with any party this time, as opposed to its coalition with the BJP five years ago. TDP leader and AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has been campaigning extensively, criticising the Centre for not granting a special status to the state. The TDP earned 15/25 seats in the general elections, and 102/175 in the Assembly Elections.
The YSR, on the other hand, managed to secure only 8 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, and came second to the TDP with 67 in the Assembly Elections. The YSR, this time too, is running alone, without any allies. Naidu’s biggest adversary, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, has been accusing the TDP for enjoying power with the BJP for four years, and then turning against them for election purposes. The YSR, like the TDP, has been questioning the Centre over its failure to assign the state with the special status, along with adding TDP into the fray, condemning the party for being unable to convince the BJP-led NDA to fulfill its promise, with whom it was allying.
The major national parties, BJP and Congress, do not have a strong foothold in the state. BJP allied with the TDP in 2014 and managed to secure two seats in the General Elections, and only 4/175 in the Assembly Elections. The right-wing party has not paid much attention to the state this time around, with only a few rallies being held.
The Congress underwent an embarrassing performance in the 2014 polls, not managing to win a single seat in either the Lok Sabha polls or the State Assembly polls. With seemingly no incentive this time too, Congress leaders seem to have diverted their attention, resources and time from Andhra to other states. The only noteworthy rally in public memory is the promise of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to assign the state the special status “as soon as it comes to power”.
Counting of votes will be completed on May 23.
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