Andhra Pradesh is heading for its first-ever hung assembly as initial trends show a close fight between the ruling Congress party and the opposition grand alliance led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Despite a disappointing performance, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi may hold the key to power in the hung house.
Congress was leading in 130 assembly constituencies while the TDP-led alliance was ahead in 136 as initial trends came in from 290 out of 294 assembly seats.
PRP candidates were leading in 22 constituencies and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM)in two.
However, these are the initial trends and the situation may change in the subsequent rounds of counting.
Congress party is confident of again forming the government as its senior leader and Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao hoped that the PRP and the two left parties will extend their support to Congress.
For a simple majority in the state assembly, the party needs 148 members.
Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) are the constituents of TDP-led front. They were ahead in six constituencies.
Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS), another constituent of the grand alliance, is also not doing well as its candidates were ahead on only 11 assembly seats.
TRS fought 45 assembly and nine Lok Sabha seats in Telangana region.
Superstar Chiranjeevi himself was trailing in Palacole assembly segment in his native West Godavari district, though he was ahead in Tirupati.
Congress was ahead in majority of Lok Sabha constituencies. The party was leading on 19 seats as the trends for 32 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats were available. TDP-led alliance was ahead on 11 seats and PRP and MIM on one each.
In 2004 elections, Congress had bagged 185 assembly seats on its own. Its allies including TRS, CPI and CPI-M had won 40 seats. The TDP could get only 45 seats.