Vijayawada, Mar 22 : Andhra Pradesh is going to witness a tough battle between the ruling Telugu Desam Party and Opposition YSR Congress Party in the April 11 general election.
Apart from this, there will be a multi-cornered contest at many places as the Janasena, BJP and Congress parties were also in the fray. In the last general election held in 2014, the TDP registered an impressive victory with the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actor-turned-politician K Pawan Kalyan.
The wrath of people against the unjust bifurcation of combined AP state also helped the TDP to win 104 seats in 2014 Assembly election.
There will be a tight contest between N Chandrababu Naidu led TDP and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSRCP while the Janasena party, floated by Pawan Kalyan, had aligned with the CPI(M), CPI and the BSP.
Mr Naidu is contesting from his native town Kuppam, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy from Pulivendula from where he hailed, while Pawan Kalyan is contesting from two Assembly constituencies Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram.
Though the Janasena is in the fray, the main fight is between the TDP and YSRCP. The ruling TDP is banking heavily on the welfare schemes it has implemented to the people, while the YSRCP is relying on anti-incumbency and 'disenchantment' by people on the ruling party.
There are 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state and the election will be held in a single phase on April 11.
Mr Chandrababu Naidu has launched his election campaign with the slogan of “Mee Bhavishattu-Na Badhyata” (Your future is my responsibility).
The Chief Minister is highlighting on the completion of 63 per cent of works of the Polavaram project, being constructed across the river Godavari, considered as the lifeline of AP.
He is also highlighting in the election campaign that his government hiked social security pensions from Rs.1000 to Rs.2000, disbursement of Rs.2,000 unemployment dole, implementation of agriculture loan waiver, Rs 20,000 financial help to self-help group women in two installments and Annadata Sukhi Bhava scheme meant for farmers.
In the 2014 election, the TDP won 102 Assembly seats and the BJP won 4 seats in alliance while the opposition YSRCP won 67 seats. The Congress had failed to open account. Significantly the difference of vote percentage between the TDP and YSRCP is only 2.21 per cent in 2014 elections.
Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy undertook over 3500 KMs padayatra through which he reached out people and earned their goodwill. The YSRCP MPs resigned to their posts demanding Special Category Status (SCS) to AP which the YSRCP is highlighting in the elections.
Moreover, the YSRCP had announced a slew of welfare schemes in the name of "Navaratnalu" two years ago and taking them to people. The heavy turnout of people to the meetings of Mr Reddy filled confidence among the YSRCP cadre.
The set back to Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy is that he is accused in several corruption cases, facing trial and he is attending every Friday before the CBI court in Hyderabad.
Mr Reddy was in prison for 14 months in corruption cases. Political strategist Prashant Kishor is guiding Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy in the electoral battle.
The influence of Janasena party is limited to few constituencies only in coastal AP districts. The TDP and YSRCP were expressing fear that the Janasena might hamper their electoral prospects by splitting their traditional vote bank.
Meanwhile, most of the Senior Congress leaders had quit the party joined the TDP, BJP and Janasena parties.
The Congress fight in the election is only formal as there no popular leader in the party. The BJP is facing resentment due to not announcing SCS to the state. (UNI)