Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu may get another term in the state, but his dream to play kingmaker at the Centre is unlikely to take off with arch rival Jagan Mohan Reddy making significant dent in the Lok Sabha elections, according to most exit polls.
The News18-IPSOS exit poll survey has predicted that the YSRCP will be able to win 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state, eclipsing the TDP tally of 11 seats.
The Republic-C Voter survey has predicted a win for TDP with 14 Lok Sabha seats followed by YSRCP with 11 Lok Sabha seats and zero seats for NDA and UPA, while the India Today Axis poll has given TDP Lok Sabha 4-6 seats and YSRCP Lok Sabha 18-20 seats.
The Chanakya-News24 poll has predicted a win for TDP with 17 Lok Sabha seats while YSR is pegged at winning 8 Lok Sabha seats.
As far as assembly polls are concerned, at least two exit polls have predicted that Naidu has done enough to get another term as CM, while one has predicted a big win for the YSRCP.
Lagadpati Raja Gopal Survey has predicted 90-110 assembly seats to TDP, followed by 65-79 to YSRCP and others would get anywhere between 1-5 seats. The RG Flash survey has predicted that the TDP would win 90 - 110 seats, YSRCP would get between 65 and 79, while others would get 1-5 seats.
India Today Axis Poll, on the other hand, has forecast 37-40 for TDP, 130-135 for the YSRCP, and a maximum of one seat for others.
If Chandrababu Naidu does return to power, it would be a remarkable comeback as he faced several challenges in the election, the first to be held in the state following its bifurcation in 2014. This was also the first election in the state since Naidu broke it off with the BJP-led NDA over delay in granting special status to Andhra.
A strong anti-incumbency, caste and corruption were the major factors when voters marched to polling booths for the simultaneous election on April 11. Soaring heat, faulty EVMs and VVPAT glitches stretched the polling late into the night on election day, following which CM Chandrababu Naidu lodged a complaint with the Election Commission.
Seeking to play a crucial role in the opposition alliance against Narendra Modi, Naidu’s campaign this time was punctuated by meetings with opposition leaders, including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Naidu also led a 21-party petition at the Supreme Court to increase VVPAT verification, which was eventually turned down.
With Naidu firmly in the UPA saddle, the BJP began courting his arch-rival and YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, who may emerge as a kingmaker in the event of a hung Parliament. The Special Category Status (SCS) reportedly topped Jagan’s charter of demands, with ministries for the YSRCP coming next.
Despite an unsaid understanding with the regional parties, the Congress and the BJP contested on their own, but both the national parties looked more or less like ringside spectators of the Naidu-versus-Jagan fight.
Naidu, who led TDP campaign, roped in National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for a couple of meetings and roadshows. The TDP chief tried to play the ‘Andhra pride’ card by alleging that Modi has hatched a conspiracy against the state in collusion with Jagan and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
Jagan, on the other hand, drew massive crowds with his speeches delivered in his distinct style. His mother YS Vijayamma and sister YS Sharmila also campaigned for the party. Jagan promised to usher in 'Rajanna Rajyam', a reference to the rule of his late father YS Rajasekhara Reddy during which several schemes were implemented for welfare of poor and weaker sections. The 46-year-old targeted Naidu for enjoying power with BJP for four years and then severing ties with that party to draw political mileage.
Analysts say actor Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena, which is making its political debut and contesting the polls in alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party, CPI and CPI(M), may tilt the balance of power by cutting into the votes of the TDP or the YSRCP.
Pawan may do well in a few constituencies with sizeable population of Kapus, a community to which the actor belongs. In the previous elections, Pawan had campaigned for TDP-BJP alliance.
In 2014 elections, the TDP had won 102 seats in the 175-member Assembly while its then alliance partner BJP secured 4 seats. YSRCP emerged as the only opposition bagging 67 seats. Two independents were also elected. Interestingly, the YSRCP polled 45.01 per cent votes, a mere 1.6 per cent less than the votes polled by the TDP-BJP combine.
Out of 25 Lok Sabha seats, the TDP bagged 15 seats while BJP got two. The YSRCP secured eight seats. Facing people's wrath over bifurcation, the Congress was completely wiped out drawing blank in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
A key feature of these polls is the electoral debut of Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who contested for the Assembly from Mangalagiri in the capital region of Amaravati. Naidu sought re-election from Kuppam in his native Chittoor district while Jagan contested once again from Pulivendula, his family stronghold in Kadapa district.