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Current Situation and the Likely Scenario

21-06-2012
I wrote this after the polling but before the results are out. I formed these opinions on the basis of a huge opinion poll I did for a client of mine.

I said that I would be surprised if YSRCP doesn’t win 17 Assembly seats in Coastal and Rayalaseema regions and the Nellore LS seat. I did not hazard a guess about Parakala Assembly seat because I did not have a first hand knowledge about the voters’ intentions. I did not undertake any poll there. I also forecast that the margins are likely to be huge and in many places the Congress and TDP were poised to lose deposits.

Some friends mistook my forecast for my preference. What I said was strictly my forecast and not my preference. Here is what I wrote:

 At present, there is a political vacuum in the state. The leadership of the ruling Congress is very weak. The official opposition party is perceived as ineffective in articulating the public’s anger against the government.

 The support that is in evidence in recent months for Jagan Mohan Reddy is in large measure a result of this weak leadership in the ruling party as well as in the main opposition.

 Public at large perceives many welfare schemes as those of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s. Those schemes are not identified as Congress Programmes although most of them were named after either Indira or Rajiv.

There is a feeling that those schemes are either scrapped or implemented half-heartedly. As a result, people have a reason to feel that they might be implemented properly by YSR’s son Jagan.

 Jagan’s party is drawing away a substantial part of the Congress vote. In many constituencies probably a majority of the Congress vote seems to have shifted to Jagan’s party. That includes a major section of the SCs, muslim and christian minorities, and a good measure of the BCs.

 An overwhelming chunk of the erstwhile Prajarajyam (Chiranjeevi’s Party) seems to have shifted to Jagan’s Party. The PRP – Congress merger did not yield the desired result for the Congress in terms of popular support. In addition, a sizeable chunk of the BCs who have been traditionally with the TDP seems to have moved away to Jagan’s Party.

 Essentially, Jagan’s party today rests on three pillars: A huge part of Congress vote; an overwhelming part of the erstwhile PRP vote and a sizeable part of the BC component of the TDP vote. This is the broad social-political alliance that is at the base of the Jagan’s juggernaut that seems to be rolling.

 In contrast to the leadership of the ruling Congress and the main opposition TDP, Jagan is seen more amidst the people in the name of ‘Odarpu Yatra’. And his Sakshi newspaper and Sakshi TV have been giving full blown publicity to the series of events during the last several months. Of late, the viewership ratings of Sakshi Tv have risen sharply. Last three weeks have seen an increase of 64%.

 In the run up to the elections, the YSRCP has been able to project the political scene as Jagan versus the rest. In other words, Cong-TDP together on the one side and Jagan alone on the other. The continuous diatribe by two Telugu leading dailies and tv channels reinforced the impression that that postulate had an element of truth in it.

 Jagan in the mind of the people looked more and more as a victim, relentlessly pursued by everybody else – the ruling party, the main opposition, big newspapers, television channels.

This victimhood naturally evoked sympathy. CBI’s summons, his interrogation, and subsequent arrest could not have been more beneficial to him under these circumstances. His mother and sister taking to streets is a game changer. His arrest is ill-timed.

 Even those who were a little warm to the ruling party were alienated by this act. It was seen as ‘persecution’. Especially while he was in the midst of election campaign.

Power cuts in the hot summer, steep hike of petrol prices added to the anger of the general public, and especially the middle classes who would not have favoured Jagan on account of allegations of corruption.

 If the results are overwhelmingly in favour of Jagan’s party, the position of the CM and the PCC president will become untenable. More Congress MLAs are likely to switch to his party by quitting their seats.

 Government might be under threat.

 Andhra Pradesh seems to be heading towards a politically turbulent phase.

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