The poll scenario in Andhra Pradesh is taking a drastic change this time with the emergence of Telangana. As the new state is going to become a reality on 2 June 2014, it won't be the usual Congress versus Telugu Desam Party (TDP) fight anymore as in the united AP.
Until now the main electoral battle in AP used to be between these two parties, but now, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has emerged as the main party of the region, taking credit for the achievement of the new state.
Headed by its undisputed leader K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), TRS is spearheading all other parties in the yet to be created new state. KCR has ruled out an alliance with Congress in the ensuing April-May Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections.
It is also trying to block both Congress and TDP from gaining any ground in Telangana region. KCR has openly called upon the TDP leaders in Telangana to ditch the Chandrababu Naidu-headed party and join TRS. Though he had announced a merger with Congress soon after passing of the bill on Telangana state, he did not do so citing reasons such as Congress's "hurting behaviour" and TRS workers' wish to retain and groom TRS as an individual political party, and contest the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly election.
In the given circumstances, Congress might opt for poll alliance with TRS in Telangana- both in Lok Sabha and Assembly election, to be held simultaneously in two phases on 30 April and 7 May.
TRS has formed a committee to consider poll alliances with pro-Telangana parties- including Congress and BJP, headed by senior leader, K Keshava Rao. TRS has stated that parties intending to have a poll patch-up can approach it before 10 March. Probably, the TRS will contest alone in the general and assembly polls or may go for a tie-up with pro-Telangana parties like the CPI and New Democracy.
TRS is playing tactics in aligning with bigger parties like Congress or TDP, as it expects an exodus of leaders from both the parties. It is said that constituencies of about 50 Congress MLAs in Telangana have to be re-nominated to contest Assembly polls. And many of them, who have been aspiring to join TRS, may not be given ticket by the Congress.
TRS is expecting such ticket deprived Congress candidates to join it. TRS is likely to re-nominate almost all of its MLAs to contest the assembly polls.
Telangana has 119 assembly seats and 17 Lok Sabha seats. TRS is confident to win more than the required 60 seats to form government in the new Telangana state. Even in Lok Sabha polls, it hopes to get at least eight of the 17 seats.
BJP, which took credit for helping Congress-led UPA government to pass the Telangana bill, may go for an alliance with TRS to grain ground in the new state. However, it is speculated that TDP, the beleaguered regional party, is yearning to have an alliance with BJP. But the BJP is yet to open its doors to TDP.
In Seemandhra, TDP is striving day and night to retain its ground, while it is widely perceived that people in the remnant AP may distance themselves from Congress for splitting the state. Even in that scenario, TDP will have to battle with Jaganmohan Reddy-headed YSR Congress Party in Seemandhra districts.
Direct poll battle is likely between TDP and YSR Congress in Rayalaseema distrticts - Kadapa, Chittor and Anantapur.
(Edited by Anu James)