'T' factor key in Andhra
As poll scene hots up in Andhra Pradesh with rebellion, last-minute defections and frayed tempers plaguing all major political players, the renewed demand for Telangana statehood has emerged as the single most important factor that has all the potential to tilt electoral scales.
The ruling TDP, opposed to bifurcation of the state, is facing a formidable challenge from a combined opposition in the region with Congress forging, for the first time, an alliance with other opposition parties to avoid a split in anti-NDA votes.
The emergence of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), fighting for statehood cause, as a force to reckon with has altered political scene in this backward, Naxalite-affected region which accounts for 107 assembly seats in the 294-member House and 16 Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 42 in the state.
In contrast to the earlier polls which witnessed multi-cornered contests, the coming elections in this region are headed for a straight contest between TDP-BJP combine and an united opposition with Congress, left parties and TRS coming together to put up a joint fight.
Congress had won 41 assembly and two LS seats in the 1999 elections. The TDP had bagged nine Lok Sabha and 51 assembly seats while its ally BJP had won 4 and 8 seats respectively making the ruling combine a dominant player in the region, a position that is set to be challenged in the changed political scenario.