Vijaywada: Andhra Pradesh will be voting for the first time in Lok Sabha elections in 2019 after the bifurcation of the state and formation of Telangana. The state has 25 Lok Sabha seats, out of which 15 were won by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), two by the BJP and eight by the YSR Congress. TDP has ended its alliance with BJP and three MPs of YRS Congress have switched loyalties to join the TDP.
For the first time after 1983, the BJP will have to contest on its own in Andhra Pradesh and the battle is likely to be a straight one between the TDP and the YSR Congress.
YRS Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy is leaving no stone unturned to benefit from the popularity of his late father Rajshekhar Reddy. although his party has 59 MLAs in the state assembly and five MPs in Lok Sabha. In every public meeting he makes mention of his father. The issue of special category status to Andhra is also hot. The TDP wants to derive political mileage using it as a poll plank.
BJP no match
Meanwhile the BJP leadership in Andhra doesn’t appear to a match for Chandrbabu and Jagan Mohan. However, the BJP leadership would bank on the battery of experienced leaders Kanna Lakshminarayana, K Sambasiva Rao and D Purandareswar who had defected from YSR Congress. Lakshminarayana has been made party state president.
According to Eenadu’s political analyst Nageshwar Rao, a faction of BJP is hopeful of alliance with YSR Congress. But Jagan is apprehensive that this could alienate the voters of the minority community not only in Andhra Pradesj but also in Telangana. On the other hand BJP fears it could lose Hindu votes.
Like in other states, Congress is passing through a difficult phase in AP. It doesn’t have a popular face in the state.