From a ruling party to just another name in the fray, it has been a massive decline of fortunes for the Congress in Seemandhra.
Supporters carry cutouts of the Congress party symbol during an election roadshow in Mumbai. (AFP Photo)
The party, sources said, is unlikely to open its account in the Lok Sabha elections here post the grant of statehood to Telangana, and could meet a similar fate in the elections to the state legislature, being held simultaneously.
An internal survey by the Andhra Pradesh Congress suggests the party is likely to get seven to eight of the 175 seats in the assembly elections and places it under the category of "others".
"People of Seemandhra have given Congress the tag of a villain. They are angry with us over the way the bifurcation was done," a senior party office bearer from the residuary state told HT. This, he said, is because the party presided over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. "They would have forgiven us but the way the telecast of the Lok Sabha session was stopped and other things (that) happened.....we are unable to explain those to voters."
The main battle in Seema-ndhra seems to be between the YSR Congress and the TDP-BJP alliance.
The survey predicted 100-110 seats for the Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress and 50-60 seats for TDP-BJP. Though TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu's flip-flop on the Telangana issue had put his party on a back-foot, the Narendra Modi factor is projected to help the alliance in the region.
Ten years ago, it was Seemandhra that helped the Congress regain power at the Centre and the state.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 29 seats in united Andhra Pradesh, of which 17 were in Seemandhra. In the assembly elections that year, the party swept the state, winning 185 of the 294 seats. Seemandhra accounted for 130 of these.
Five years later, the party not only retained power in the state but also increased its tally to 33 in the LS polls, a chunk of which came from Seemandhra.
Cut to 2014 — the Congress is saddled with a slow campaign in the state and a majority of its senior leaders have deserted the party over the Telangana issue.
For now, the party is confident of its chances in Telangana, but faces a close contest with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
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