TIRUPATI: With the successful completion of the second phase of polling, and results to be declared on May 16, it is now time for the guessing game as to who will form the government, who will play the spoilsport and who will be the next Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Interestingly, the three main contenders for the chief minister’s post contested elections from the Rayalaseema district. Incumbent Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy contested the Pulivendula Assembly segment in Kadapa district, which has been represented by him and his family for last three decades.
On the other hand, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo, who ruled the State as chief minister for nine years, contested the Kuppam Assembly segment in Chittoor district which he has been representing since 1989. In fact, Kuppam has been the TDP bastion since the inception of the party in 1983.
Meanwhile, popular actor and chief of the newly-emerged Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) Chiranjeevi contested the Tirupati Assembly segment which had the distinction of being the launch pad of another famous actor-turned-politician Nandamuri Tarakarama Rao in 1983.
The popularity of all the three contenders for the chief minister’s post is not in question, but what needs to be considered is how they are expected to fare in the 2009 Assembly elections. All the three are quite confident of their victory and claim that they are the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s victory looks to be a foregone conclusion, if the voting pattern is anything to go by.
His old rival, S V Sathish Reddy, is expected to repeat history. The poor performance of the TDP in Pulivendula can be attributed to two factors — absence of strong leadership coupled with insignificant base of the cadre and absolute dominance of the Rajasekhara Reddy family in the constituency.
In Kuppam, N Chandrababu Naidu is expected to win for the fifth time in a row, but lose the margin of votes, for two factors — the Congress being able to make considerable inroads into his domain and the delimitation factor which reduced the size of his constituency.
As for Chiranjeevi, who is contesting his maiden election from two places — Tirupati and Palacole, victory seems to be his if lady luck smiles upon him in Palacole where he is expected to win by a slight margin. If the efforts of Chiranjeevi in Tirupati, where he personally monitored the entire election process, pay off, he is sure to win.
Further, last-minute blunders of his opponent B Karunakar Reddy of the Congress like the intimidation drama at a private hotel where the PRP chief was staying, and continuous shadowing of Chiranjeevi on the polling day by Congress cadre and the Congress nominee himself, are expected to prove advantageous to the PRP chief.
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