Congress leaders say the YSRC could make inroads in rural areas but the TDP-BJP combine would do well in urban constituencies

Conceding that the Congress party is staring at a total washout in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Seemandhra, senior leaders said that it would be a big morale booster if it was able to reach the double-digit mark at least.

As the tension-filled polling came to an end on Wednesday, Congress leaders were clear that they were in for the worst rout in any elections. Sources in the APCC maintained that the party saw a ray of hope in Cheerpurpalli (Botcha Satyanarayana), Gajapathinagaram (B. Appala Narasaiah), Srungavarapukota (Indukuri Raghuraju), Visakhapatnam East (Dronamraju Srinivas), Vijayawada Central (Malladi Vishnu), Guntur East (Kanna Lakshminarayana) and Dhone (Kotla Sujathamma). It is understood that even the APCC president, N. Raghuveera Reddy, is facing a Herculean task to scrape through in Penukonda constituency.

Party seniors, who analysed the polling trend, pointed out that the TDP-BJP combine gave a tough fight in a majority of the 175 Assembly constituencies and 25 LS seats in the region belying general perception that YSRC was poised for a comfortable win. Leaders say the YSRC could make inroads in rural areas but the TDP-BJP combine would do well in urban constituencies.

“Taking into account various factors, we can say that it is a close race between the TDP-BJP combine and the YSR Congress. Our feedback is that YSR Congress is able to retain its sway over Rayalaseema comprising 52 seats and in Nellore and Prakasam districts,” a senior APCC office-bearer remarked.

Congress sources close to the former PCC chief, Mr. Botcha Satyanarayana, said the TDP-BJP alliance made an impact in South and North Coastal Andhra regions as the first-time voters and youth besides the educated middle class were swayed by Narendra Modi’s campaign.

Modi factor

Party leaders feel that YSRC’s prospects may have taken a hit to some extent in Krishna, East and West Godavari and North Coastal Andhra districts on account of the Modi factor. The vitriolic campaign against YSRC chief Jaganmohan Reddy by Jana Sena Party president and actor Pawan Kalyan also worked to their advantage, sources said. There is also an apprehension in the Congress camp that a major section of the influential Kapu community has rallied behind the TDP in East and West Godavari districts. A Congress leader wishing anonymity said in Visakhapatnam LS seat where Y.S. Vijayamma is pitted against BJP’s K. Haribabu, the TDP-BJP combine is able to successfully rake up her non-local antecedents. The rally addressed by Mr. Modi further gave a fillip to BJP’s chances, sources said.

A former Minister said voters in some districts indulged in cross voting by backing a regional party in the Assembly and another party in the Lok Sabha.