Simultaneous election for the Parliament and the Assembly election in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to augur well for major political parties, such as Congress, TDP-BJP and the YSR Congress. People in both Telangana and Seemandhra are emotionally charged and the voting percentage is dependent on their mood, rather than on a 'development mantra' or the freebies and poll day sops doled out by political parties.
"I don't know why I should vote for any of these parties, as they are equal partners in the bifurcation. Although they were now crying hoarse and shedding crocodile tears," says Guntur resident Parchuri Rama Rao, whose daughter Swati fell victim to a blast onboard the Bangalore-Guwahti Express in Chennai last week.
Campaign managers have obviously sensed the mood of the people as reflected in the high-profile campaigns in both the regions. As the EC's whistle blew, Chandrababu Naidu was in Giddalur of Prakasam district and YS Jaganmohan Reddy was campaigning in Kurnool district's Nandyal. Besides BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi too have led high-blitz campaigns here. While Telanga voted last month, Seemandhra will vote on May 7. Wednesday poll will decide the fate of stalwarts, such as Chandrababu Naidu, Jaganmohan, former union ministers Pallam Raju and Purandheswari. Polling across 40,708 stations will also seal the fate of 333 Parliamentary and 2,241 Assembly candidates.
"The situation is tense with political parties vying to take advantage of the political situation. The voters are suspicious of all," says Lagadapati Rajgopal, the former Vijayawada MP now better known as 'pepper spray MP'; Rajgopal is not contesting.
Seemandhra is dominated by tribals, dalits, Christians, Kapus (agrarian community) and the backward castes. While political parties are said to be using money, liquor and freebies to woo lower middle class sections, the voters are turning the other cheek, sour and emotionally kindled about the bifurcation for which no party has offered an explanation. "Every one says vote for us, we will do this and we will do that. But we all voted for them earlier and this (bifurcation) is what they gave us," says Prashanti Kesineni, a school teacher in Vijayawada.
So far, it appears that the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam are swaying towards the TDP- BJP combine; East and West Godavari is exhibiting a strong Jagan wave. In Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore, the wave is divided between TDP, Congress and the YSR Congress; TDP seems to have an advantage in Rayalseema districts of Chittoor and Anantapur; In Kadapa and Kurnool, the YSRC and Congress are neck-and-neck.
Whatever be the outcome of May 7, Seemandhra's voters, including employees, students and businessmen, strongly feel that they've been let down by their representatives. "They broke our strike and broke our unity for their political gains," says a dejected Congress Kadapa leader K Subba Reddy.
Seemandhra at the polls
25 Parliament seats
333 Parliamentary candidates in fray
175 Assembly seats
2241 contestants in fray
3.67 crore voters; 3,227 transgenders
4,000 flying squads to keep watch on poll sops