Governance · Public Policy

The Curious Case of Andhra Pradesh

 The impact of emotions on behaviour has demonstrated that the way people act is influenced by the sentiments they experience. The voting behaviour is no exception and this election of 2014 in Seemandhra and Telangana regions is going to be based on emotive factors due to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and carving out of the state of Telangana as the 29th state in the union. The importance of stressing upon the fact that this election is emotionally motivated creates the basic difference on which the elections in the state differ from that of the issues prevailing at the national level. The stakeholders of this election realize that very well and hence the trend shows us clearly how every aspect of poll campaign of the parties including development is associated and presented as an emotional appeal in both the parts of the state.

The emotive factor is playing a major role here due to two reasons.

  1. Firstly, in Telangana region the fulfilment of their long cherished dream and a hope for a brighter and great future.
  2. Secondly, for Seemandhra people it is the way in which the bifurcation is done amidst closed doors and such great hurry without properly giving them alternatives and also the question hanging in their minds about their development.

The key to capture this space is to show the people that parties and individuals have taken a stand either for Telangana or for a united state. This election being the last one conducted in the state of Andhra Pradesh before it is divided into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) has got its own importance as the election at the provincial level will not just be the routine affair that takes place every 5 years, the verdict will decide the composition of the government in Andhra Pradesh and the new state of Telangana that will be born on June 02, 2014. For this reason, the histrionics and hysteria that elections normally create in India is doubly so in Andhra Pradesh.

Coming to the parties, Congress may have thought that creating Telangana would be a master stroke which will help it pocket most of the 119 assembly seats of the region along with its 17 Lok Sabha seats. While it is possible that it may still gain a lot of these parliamentary seats, people are likely to vote more for Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) than Congress in the assembly polls. TRS, after all, is seen as the party that has championed the cause of a separate Telangana all along, and K Chandrashekhara Rao has been nursing ambitions of being the first chief minister of state. KCR and his party TRS have emerged as flag bearers of the Telangana cause and which they are trying to project to the maximum so as to being able to form the next government in this region on their own. Though it may be a difficult task yet not something that is unattainable because the recent trends show that TRS is going have the maximum of the Lok Sabha seats and a major chunk of assembly seats too. This is clear from the latest opinion polls and the public opinion in favor of TRS which people feel deserves a chance for all its efforts.

At the same time Congress is trying hard to get the credit for the formation of the state so as to gain as many seats as they can and establish their control over the newly formed state. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) headed by former CM Nara Chandrababu Naidu who is the longest serving chief minister of AP who is now the longest serving leader of opposition the AP assembly has untied his forces with the BJP riding on the development and good governance plank. BJP is trying to capitalize on their stand for Telangana in the parliament as well as the pro Modi wave in people. Their efforts have been now boosted with the support of Pavan Kalyan, the superstar of Telugu cinema who recently has started his own political outfit. With Pavan pledging his support for Narendra Modi and an alliance between former partners TDP and BJP they are focusing to gain as much as they can from the image of their respective leaders.

 As far as the situation in the truncated Andhra Pradesh is concerned – with its 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats, Congress which was already facing anti-incumbency may end up getting a drubbing. Most of the people in the region are sour about Telangana being amputated from Andhra. Congress’s own chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has rebelled and formed his own outfit – Jai Samaikyandhra which is trying to show its existence in the present situation banking on their stand for united Andhra Pradesh. Jaganmohan Reddy and his YSR Congress Party seem to be in a strong position, as he is still deriving advantage of his father’s stupendous popularity and is seen as his rightful heir to power. It is no wonder then that the Kadapa MP, who is now fighting from Pulivendula Assembly constituency, is the state’s most googled politician. Jagan’s intended pad yatras had rattled the establishment enough to get him incarcerated with 10 charge sheets against him including those related with disproportionate assets. But his efforts are plagued with the fact that this momentum that he has built over four years is losing the steam just before the elections. His stand for a united Andhra Pradesh is expected to work in his favor. His party is expected to be the principal opposition in case he fails to get the majority.

TDP which has sealed its comeback to NDA is going with an alliance with the BJP. Chandrababu Naidu who is regarded as an able statesman and administrator is banking on his image for pro development and his contributions to put Hyderabad on the world map as an important business destination which he promises to reprise in the new state of Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra). His aligning with Narendra Modi who is moving forward with the developmental plank is making efforts of Mr. Naidu believable. Also various leaders from other parties who have joined TDP is said to have strengthened the party which is now moving forward with great enthusiasm to get back to power. With his image as a no nonsense administrator and a growing flock of followers as well as an alliance with BJP which is said to be the front runner in 2014 from whom he promises great benefits for the new state Mr. Naidu is determined to break the jinx of being the longest serving opposition leader and coming back to power. The prospective for TDP in the recent polls as well as in the public seem to be growing and is expected to come out big after the result.

Congress may just be all set to face its most humiliating defeat in this region with majority of the leaders shifting allegiance and a growing dissent among the people. It is expected to end up third after TDP and YSRC.

 At the end whichever way the alignments fit, and whoever crosses the finishing line with maximum MLAs, one thing is certain…the race, is an emotional one and winning is going to make a great deal of difference.

About the Author

Manoj Reddy

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Manoj is a 4th year (VII Semester) Student of BBA-LLb (Hons.) at Faculty of Law, IFHE, Hyderabad. An ardent follower of national politics and a critical analyst of the same, Mr. Reddy is busy writing on his blog, A Cynics View (http://acynicsviews.blogspot.in/), Debating and Mooting, whenever he is not busy catching up with the latest movies. “

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