The Praja Rajyam could be a game-changer in the second phase of elections on April 23, though it did not fare too well in the first phase.
It is believed that the Praja Rajyam will take up to 25 per cent of the votes in the segments where it commands influence, and up to 10 per cent elsewhere. The big question is from which party the votes will come from.
The second phase polls cover 140 Assembly seats in 10 districts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema and is crucial to both the Congress and the Telugu Desam.
According to intelligence reports, the Congress can win 60 seats in the first phase and 90 out of the 140 going to the polls in the second. Winning anything less than 90 will make it difficult to retain power.
The TD and its poll partners have to win at least 60 seats in the second phase, after claiming that it will get 90 seats in the first. Both the Congress and the TD have acknowledged that they will suffer Chiranjeevi cuts in East and West God-avari districts. But it is the Chiranjeevi impact in Nell-ore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts that is wo-rrying the two main parties.
The Praja Rajyam candidates will poll between 5,000 and 20,000 votes in seats in these districts. That is a sizeable number in a keen contest. In Rayalaseema, however, the Praja Rajyam may not cut heavily into the Congress and TD votes as its influence is waning; the fight could be confined to a very few segments.
According to sources, Praja Rajyam candidates have edge over its rivals in Kakinada and Amalapuram Lok Sabha seats out of the 20 going to polls on April 23. Its influence is more felt in East and West Godavari districts. PR candidates have edge in the Assembly segments of Anantapur, Allagadda, Panyam, Alur, Rajampet, Proddutur and Tirupati, where Chiranjeevi is the party candidate.
It also expects a strong showing in Kavali, Nellore Town, Ongole, Giddalur, Guntur West, Vijayawada West, Bandar, Eluru, Polavaram and Palacole, where Chiranjeevi is also contesting. Jaggampet, Ramachandrapuram, Mummadivaram, Kottapeta, Mandapeta, Rajanagaram, Rajahmundry City, Peddapuram, P. Gannavaram and Kakinada Urban are other seats where the Praja Rajyam is seen to be strong.