ANDHRA PRADESH

The guessing game begins among parties

Good turnout in phase II attributed to the emergence of Praja Rajyam



Voting pattern reflected the intense triangular contest in many segments

Congress, TDP facing the risk of losing their voting base, says Dattatreya



HYDERABAD: The impressive turnout in the second phase of election for 140 Assembly and 20 Lok Sabha seats has left all the major political parties in the fray guessing over their prospects.

Political parties have succeeded in mobilising voters, youth and women in particular, with different factors including money power and caste polarisation coming into play in the unexpected turnout. Though increased awareness among voters is being cited as one reason for the turnout all the major political parties admit that the emergence of Praja Rajyam Party on the political scenario has influenced the voting pattern.

Political parties are, however, unwilling to hazard a guess as to which party is likely to benefit with the unexpected turnout. “The increased turnout is, no doubt, a welcome sign, but no one can say for sure which way the vote will tilt,” was the common response of senior leaders of different political parties.

‘Unpredictable’

Unlike first phase where there were straight contests between the Congress and the Telugu Desam-led Grand Alliance, the second phase saw competitive mobilisation which placed all three parties on equal footing. The voting pattern reflected the intense tri-cornered contests in a majority of segments, particularly in coastal Andhra region where the impact of the PRP is perceived to be more, and thereby, enhanced the unpredictability of the outcome.

CPI (M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu is of the view that all the candidates would benefit from the increased turnout as the voting could not be one-sided in the absence of any wave in favour of the ruling or opposition parties.

JP’s take

Lok Satta Party president Jayaprakash Narayan, however, felt that the turnout reflected the “unbelievably high” and “shameless” use of money and liquor power coupled with polarisation on caste and faction lines.

BJP State president Bandaru Dattatreya opined that both the Congress and the TDP faced the risk of losing their vote base as mobilisation by the PRP, for whom this phase was crucial, resulted in multi-cornered contests. Senior Congress leader Paladugu Venkata Rao admitted that the PRP factor had influenced the turnout, but was confident that it did not disturb the Congress vote.

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