Key players in Telugu states gearing up for 2019 battle

Perfect political mode has set in. While the national scene is still not clear, the perspective of the parties in both the Telugu states has completely changed. They are forming new alliances and strategies. Process to pick candidates has also started. It is estimated that candidates of major political parties, on an average, will spend Rs.10 crore each and in constituencies where they is tough fight they will spend Rs.2.5 crore. Ruling parties in the two states Telugu Desam and TRS are focusing on mobilizing necessary funds. TDP is ahead of others in this matter. Chandrababu Naidu does comprehensive planning in raising money and expenditure. TRS sources say this time KCR has also assured the party leaders that he will not lag behind on the issue of funds. They say that he is ready to spend Rs.5 to Rs.10 crore in every constituency on behalf of the party. However, the opposition candidates have to mobilize this money from their own pockets. When it comes to competition, Andhra Pradesh will have more suspense than Telangana.

The number of parties appear more in Telangana. TRS, congress, MIM, BJP and TDP are already major parties. BLF of which CPM is a major constituent and Kodanda Ram led Jana Samithi are new entrants. YSRCP leaders say their party will also be in the fray. There are indications that CPI may contest in alliance with Congress. In 2014, eight parties had representation in the state assembly while Andhra Pradesh was confined to three parties. Analysts say since there will be sharp polarization in Telangana this time, there is danger of some parties being wrapped up. Some parties which have no base among people may make some noise in campaigning but they will not be able to influence the results. Several surveys have already indicated that TRS, Congress and MIM will have major representation. BJP and TDP which contested last elections in alliance will be contesting on their own this time. The recent survey by TRS says that the impact of these two parties will be almost zero. BLF and Telangana Jana Samithi may split the voters but may not be deciding factor as to who will rule the state. MIM may emerge as third party. In view of TRS tightening its grip across the state, analysts estimate that like in Andhra Pradesh, the representation in state assembly this time will confine to three parties.

In Andhra Pradesh, cast re-alignment is likely to have its impact. A survey done in Godavari districts by a private analytical organization shows that 75 percent of Kapus may support Jana Sena. 78 to 80 percent among Reddys are favouring YSRCP. 84 percent of Kammas support TDP. Considering this, caste based political polarization looks certain. There are many doubts as to which BCs, Dalits and Muslims will vote. It is being said unlike in the past, majority of BCs may not back TDP. BC castes like Koppula Velama and Turpu Kapu have distances from TDP due to various reasons. It is likely majority among scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will support YSRCP. In 2014 Muslims supported YSRCP. TDP is making large scale efforts to disturb this equation. However, surveys show that 60 percent Muslims are still with YSRCP. In the remaining 40 percent, three percent may go to Congress and 37 percent to TDP.

There are some leaders who can impact the results in districts. This time they are causing a headache to TDP leadership. They include J. C. Diwakar Reddy of Anantapur. He has described as useless more than half of the TDP MLAs in the district. He is insisting that his supports be given tickets. If he is not obliged, he may impact the prospects of the party across the district. IYR Krishna Rao, who is well-known among Brahmins, is continuing his attacks on the government. Similar is the position of Kapu leader Mudragada. Plan is also being prepared to damage TDP’s image among Madigas through Telangana leader Muthkupalli Narasimhlu’s visit in Andhra Pradesh. TDP is much ahead of opposition YSRCP in election expenses. However, analysts say this social re-alignment may create a hurdle for the TDP.

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