New Delhi: Buoyed by its landslide victory in the Telangana Assembly elections last year and with a demoralised opposition, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had a clear edge going into the election.
The News18 exit poll survey has been conducted by IPSOS, the world’s top international pollster that boasts a solid track record of predicting electoral outcomes of several elections around the world with accuracy. The survey predicts that the TRS will win 12-14 Lok Sabha seats. Both the Congress and the BJP will possibly win one to three seats each, with Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) expected to win one.
The India Today Axis poll has predicted 10-12 seats for TRS and has given both the BJP and Congress one to three seats each. The AIMIM would, as per the poll, get a maximum of one seat. The News24-Chanakya poll has predicted 14 seats for the TRS, one each for the BJP and the Congress. The survey conducted by Republic-C Voter has predicted 14 seats for the TRS and one each for the AIMIM, NDA and UPA.
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President K Chandrashekhar Rao had appealed to people to make the party victorious on all seats and ensure that he and other regional parties can play a key role in forming a non-BJP, non-Congress government at the Centre.
The ruling party had worked with 'Mission 16' in mind while offering support to “friendly” party Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) to maintain its dominance in Hyderabad.
Reeling under desertions by its MLAs, the Congress struggled to put up a strong fight against the TRS while the BJP's prospects always looked remote. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chose not to contest the election in Telangana after the party’s dismal showing in the Assembly elections held in December. The TRS then had got a massive mandate, winning 88 of the 119 seats, riding on the goodwill generated by welfare schemes launched by KCR in the last four-and-half years.
The Congress, despite cobbling up a four-party front, including the TDP, was relegated to a distant second, with 21 seats.
If the Assembly segments won by the TRS in December are taken into account, it translates to 15 Lok Sabha seats. In comparison, the Congress won 21 Assembly seats, which would add up to a single Lok Sabha seat.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TRS had bagged 11 seats, the Congress two, and the TDP, the YSR Congress, the BJP and the MIM one each.
The TRS, which dropped four outgoing MPs, had particularly focused on four constituencies, including Secunderabad and Khammam, which it has never won.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Renuka Chowdhury carried the party's hopes in Khammam while state unit president Uttam Kumar Reddy faced a tough battle in Nalgonda.
The CPI and CPI(M), which fought Assembly elections as part of different alliances, had joined hands to field candidates in their former strongholds of Nalgonda and Khammam.
Constituencies like Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar and Karimnagar, where the BJP is considered to have a sizeable presence, saw triangular fights.
KCR's daughter K Kavitha, who is seeking re-election for a second consecutive term from Nizamabad, was locked in a keen battle with Madhu Yashki Goud of the Congress and D Aravind of the BJP. About 200 farmers had also entered the fray from this constituency to highlight their hardships.
The BJP replaced its lone outgoing MP and senior leader Bandaru Dattatreya with G Kishan Reddy in Secunderabad, a seat which was held by either Congress or BJP in the past. While Congress fielded its former MP Anjan Kumar Yadav, state minister T Srinivas Yadav's son Sai Kiran Yadav fought on a TRS ticket.