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Reddy’s optimism misplaced

As 20 Lok Sabha seats and 140 assembly seats go to polls on Thursday, completing the polling process in the state (the remaining 22 Lok Sabha and 154 assembly seats voted last week) the question being asked is: will Congress chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy be able to do a repeat? Ashok Das reports.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2009 01:26 IST
Ashok Das

Andhra Pradesh is the only large state in the country where the Congress is in power on its own. The chances of the Congress leading the next government in Delhi thus depend critically on its performance here. As 20 Lok Sabha seats and 140 assembly seats go to polls on Thursday, completing the polling process in the state (the remaining 22 Lok Sabha and 154 assembly seats voted last week) the question being asked is: will Congress chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy be able to do a repeat?

In the last Lok Sabha poll, the Congress won 29 of the 42 seats and contributed substantially to the final Congress tally of 145 across the country.

Reddy has claimed his government performed so well in the last five years that the party will bag 30 seats this time. He has refused to form any alliance. The only concession he made was to agree to a separate Telangana after the polls.

But reports about the first round of voting last week do not seem to have been what he was expecting. What else explains his volte-face on Telangana, opposing it, whipping up passions against the idea across the non-Telangana areas?

Against this the main Opposition, which despite the grand alliance formed by the Telegu Desam Party, the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti and the Left parties had initially floundered, seems to have made a remarkable turnaround. The free colour TV and direct cash transfers into bank accounts the TDP has promised seems to have enthused voters. Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam seems destined for third place.