Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AP: Campaign ends, voting tomorrow
~By Lalita Iyer
Actor & Jana Sena founder, Pawan Kalyan.
Photo: AP Ggossips.com
Tuesday, April 29, 2014: The curtains came down on a high-decibel campaign in Telangana region where simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha are to be held on April 30. Though elections are being held in the Andhra Pradesh, the voters will choose from 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats as to who should form the first government in the new state of Telangana, which will come into existence on June 2.

While the main contest is between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Telugu Desam Party-BJP combine and YSR Congress Party, though only marginal players in this new state, could be the spoilers. The TDP can be an effective spoiler as it has a decent cadre strength in this new state; and the BJP is seeking a share of the pie because they claim that they supported the demand for the new state in Parliament.

The election campaign was emotionally charged and the two main parties, the Congress and the BJP, only focused on who should get credit for Telangana.

Even as the TRS went to town claiming they got Telangana, the Congress found it difficult to convey the same to the public, though the two rounds of visits by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi may have helped. While, the TRS took credit for the party's sustained agitation for 13 years, the Congress countered it saying that without its

commitment and initiative Telangana would not have become a reality.

While the BJP has always been in support of smaller states, it is not very strong both in Telangana and in Seemandhra. And the TDP has its own issues, with Naidu's stand changing too often. The alliance between these two parties will probably have a negative effect on both the parties because primarily the tie-up did not go too well with the cadre of both the parties.

The other political party which might turn out to be the dark horse is the YSR Congress Party. While Jagan and his party were strongly opposed to the division of the state, his campaigning has been received with warmth and also his plank of promoting all the welfare programmes of his father,Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, has gone down

well with the people of Telangana. The YSR is expected to throw a few surprises.

While leaders heli-hopped and turned up for meetings hours later than scheduled, people waited eagerly to find out what new things were being promised to them.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia and Rahul also promised a lot, including a woman chief minister if brought to power. Sonia decided to go for the jugular and attacked KCR directly to communicate the point that the Congress had brought in Telangana.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi also addressed a number of meetings in the state. His statement that 'Telangana child was born, but Telugu Mother was killed,' led to a lot of discussion on the subject.

Adding to the already existing din of campaigning was power star Pawan Kalyan. He launched his party Jana Sena with great fanfare, but decided not to contest in any seat. He decided to support Narendra Modi and flew in to meet him at Gandhinagar. 

Inspite of his tiff with Chandrababu Naidu for denying the Vijayawada seat to his friend Potluri Vara Prasad (PVP), he campaigned for the TDP and the BJP. 

Also, plenty of nasty remarks are exchanged between KCR and Pawan Kalyan as well. All that came to an end last evening.

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