The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which has fielded its candidates for 98 Assembly and 11 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, is banking heavily on the image of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy as the “saviour of the poor” with his spectrum of welfare schemes and making it the focus of its election campaign in the region.

Overcoming its initial dilemma whether to contest all seats or to concentrate only in the places where it has some cadre and fan following for late YSR, the party leadership later decided to contest as many number of seats as possible with an eye on the future to get recognition in Telangana as a State party. Apart from the welfare schemes implemented by YSR, the party is pinning hopes on the support from minorities and the people settled in the region from Seemandhra.

“Our party leadership has used its energy here judiciously only during that last few days of campaigning as we are aware of the ground reality,” a senior leader of the party said when asked why the star campaigners Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, Y.S. Vijayamma and Y.S. Sharmila did not tour the region extensively for electioneering.

On the issue of statehood to Telangana, to which the party opposed strongly towards the end after supporting it initially, the party maintained a strategic silence.

However, it has become a major handicap to the party in campaigning as rival parties – Congress, TDP-BJP combine and TRS have all banked mainly on the Telangana sentiment.

The party leadership spoke of keeping the Telugu society united even after division of the State in an attempt to win over the Seemandhra voters settled in Telangana. Ms. Vijayamma campaigned for the party candidates for a day in Khammam while Ms. Sharmila spared three days covering Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts.

Whirlwind tour

Mr. Jagan undertook a whirlwind tour on the last three days of campaign by covering Nalgonda, Khammam, Warangal, Ranga Reddy and Hyderabad districts. In all, the party’s star campaigners addressed over 50 election rallies-cum-road shows.

He tried to connect to the minorities in Hyderabad on Monday by addressing a rally in Urdu and declaring: “If not now, YSRCP will come to power here too one day and implement all the schemes of YSR”.