BJP may not be able to open account in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

For the AP Assembly, though CM Chandrababu Naidu has called for a re-election following widespread complaints of EVM malfunctioning, analysts feel he seems to have a fighting chance of retaining power


KV Lakshmana

Prof Harathi Vageeshan of NALSAR, Hyderabad believes BJP may not win a single seat in Andhra Pradesh this time unlike the four it had won in 2014.

He said on Thursday evening , “for some strange reason, the BJP stopped functioning as a political party in Telangana and seemed to rest content seeing KCR win. Moreover, even among the voters a strong perception has developed that voting KCR would be a vote for Modi as he eventually would support the NDA at the time of government formation.”

Well that is the perception on the ground here in Hyderabad and elsewhere in Telangana and KCR smartly allowed it to build. Besides, he never shied away from attacking the Prime Minister, the BJP and the central government as sharply as he did the Congress.

If the BJP is in no position to open its account in Telangana its fate is no better in Andhra Pradesh, where it could win four seats in alliance with the TDP from combined AP. But this time around, since TDP broke away and the BJP was unable to tie up with any regional grouping, it has absolutely no chance to win seats, either in assembly or Parliament from this state, said Prof Vageeshan.

The Congress is still in a fight in few seats, in AP as also in Telangana but essentially in AP, it is a high-stakes battle between TDP and YSRCP. In Telangana, the Congress is the main opposition taking on Telangana Rashtra Samithi of KCR and could spring a surprise or two in a few seats.

Vageeshan hazarded to make an educated guess, after voting percentage was reported to be hovering around 60 per cent in both Andhra Pradesh and in Telangana at around 6 pm on Thursday, that Naidu could eventually pip Jaganmohan Reddy and retain power in the state. The powerful Kamma community to which Naidu belongs is loath to give up power and Naidu has deftly used the Pawan Kalyan factor to his advantage, the NALSAR professor said.

Just like his elder brother Chiranjeevi helped YS Rajashekhara Reddy by ‘defeating Naidu in many places but at the same time losing himself’, Pawan Kalyan could do the same to Jaganmohan Reddy, the political analyst said. Said a senior TDP leader PV Seetharam, "I can see no anti-incumbency on the ground. People are looking for an experienced man to steer the state and build a modern Andhra Pradesh."

In fact, by breaking away from NDA and BJP at the proverbial eleventh hour and painting Modi as the villain for treating Andhra Pradesh shabbily has had some takers. And Naidu has also directly charged Jaganmohan Reddy of being in cahoots with the BJP, which denied the Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh - an emotional issue in the state.

But there is a counter to this argument from Sriram Karri that "Naidu made a big mistake by telling the voters that Jaganamohan Reddy was friendly with KCR and Modi. By doing this, Naidu has made people opt for Jagan as many Andhrites live in Hyderabad and they want the state to be on friendly terms with the central government."

But the low voter turnout in polls generally indicates that the voters were voting for status quo. For sure, the voting percentage could be a cause for concern for Jaganmohan Reddy and his supporters said Prof Vageeshan.

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