Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Voting ends in AP...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

Watching the Telugu news last night and reading the newspapers on May 8 gave an eerie sense of deja vu.  Immediately after the phase 1 and 2 of election in Andhra Pradesh in 2009, newspapers like Eenadu and Andhrajyothy which favour Telegu Dasem Party (TDP) went on to publish saying that given the high percentage of polling, a TDP win is near certain.
Sakshi newspaper that is owned by YSR’s son Jaganmohan obviously reported that it is a landslide for the Congress. The exact same situation has been repeated on May 8. Eenadu is upbeat about TDP’s prospects; Sakshi has already declared Jagan as the winner! We will have to wait till the May 16 to know who was being overconfident! Actually, we don’t have to wait till May 16! On May 12 and and May 13, results of election held for the municipalities and corporations held in April will be announced. These results will be a sound pre-cursor to the results on May 16. If you are wondering how come these elections were held so close to the general election, please do read an earlier article on this topic here.
As it was being predicted, there was a massive voting in the Seemandhra region on May 7. Nearly, all the 13 districts had more than 75 per cent of polling, which is extremely commendable by any standards. The least polling was recorded in Vizag district – 70 per cent. One can imagine the scale of voting if the least recorded percentage is 70 per cent! Guntur district recorded the highest polling – a whopping 82 per cent. Such high polling usually indicates overwhelming preference for a single political party. If only we were in a position to predict the result as accurately as predicting the voter turnout! One must have noticed that there is no concrete prediction available anywhere on which way this election will turn. One must have noticed that many commentators are wary of predicting the result. There is a reason behind this too. In 2004 election, there was just a difference of 1 per cent vote share between the Congress and the TDP alone (this is not taking into account the vote share of allies TRS and the BJP).
The Congress won 185 seats and the TDP won 45 seats – just because of a margin of 1 per cent. This election in Seemandhra too will see a close contest – a difference of 1-2 per cent in vote share. Hence the difficulty in predicting! On the contrary, it is more or less evident that the TRS will emerge as the single largest party in the new State of Telangana. The Congress might end up a close second, and the NDA is expected to end up a poor third. The botching up of the seat sharing talks in this region is one of the factors being attributed to the poor showing. The State BJP president, Kishan Reddy is also on record saying that they were not able to fully cash in on Modi’s rally in August.
Coming back to the Seemandhra region, the high turnout can definitely be attributed to two factors:
1. Massive anger against the Congress party and Sonia-Rahul combine
2. Urge to have a Government that will develop this region on par with how Hyderabad was developed.
The anger against the Congress has to be seen to be believed. The botching up of the bifurcation process (so much so that the prospects of them winning majority in Telangana are also very low!) and the screwing up the electricity situation are the two major factors that have contributed this anger. The party found it extremely difficult to even find candidates to contest – what a fall for a party that ruled the State for the last 10 years. Leave star campaigners, there were no normal campaigners for the party too! Sparsely attended crowds became a hall-mark of their meetings! Sonia Gandhi addressed one meeting – something that people did not even care about. Unless the ruling party massively screws up, it will take a decade for the Congress to recover back from this debacle.
The second factor is the strong urge of the folks to rise up to the challenge of building a new State for themselves. As has been argued earlier, technically, a new State of Andhra Pradesh is being created and not a new State of Telangana – for the existing capital city is in Telangana. People in the Seemandhra region are quite vociferous about this challenge. The TDP-led the campaign on the promise of past work in developing Hyderabad – if we did it once, we can do it again. Modi’s campaign in the region also stressed on specifics of developing each district – something that was missing in the YSRCP camp. The campaign of YSRCP centered around YSR and his schemes; of promises of jobs and loans; and other such doles.

Another defining factor of May 7 election is the violence resorted by YSRCP supporters. News channels were agog with clashes, primarily perpetuated by the YSRCP goons. Some rival camp candidates were even locked inside rooms; vehicles were damaged; clashes happened with police; some reports of booth capturing too! On May 7, we mentioned about the money power that YSRCP unleashed in this election; we also became witness to the goondaism they are capable of unleashing! The EC has announced that the overall polling was peaceful barring these few instances of violence. The advent of YSR’s regime in 2004 saw a violent end to many of the rival camp leaders. If YSRCP wins 2014, will we see another such phase? Over to May 16 now. Will we see a new dawn in Seemandhra region where the choice is the experience and the hope held out by the Naidu-Modi duo or will we see a dawn where the choice is governed by pure sympathy towards YSRCP?


Post a Comment