Multi-cornered mayhem, money, liquor mark Mahasangram in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh, which is set to disappear from the electoral map of the country after Battle 2014, is making history with multi-cornered mayhem and record seizure of liquor and money in the run up to the simultaneous two-phase polling for the assembly and the Lok Sabha next week.
An estimated Rupees 1.05 billion in cash, a mind-boggling 13 million litres of liquor and an unusually large quantity of 104 kilogram heroin have been seized so far, according to the local poll authorities, who have awarded the tag of high expenditure sensitive segment to as many as 101 of the 294 assembly constituencies in the state.
Both the Congress and the BJP have brought their top guns to sway the voters particularly in Telangana, taking credit for the carving the new state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and a host of union minister have made a whirlwind tour to step up the tempo of Congress campaign. Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, and veterans have given a big thrust to the BJP campaign. On its part, the Congress hopes that Andhra Pradesh would be the game changer it was in 2013 when the party had won 33 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats at stake.
For the BJP too, the polling scheduled for April 30 and May 7 in Andhra Pradesh is crucial to realise its plans for the Delhi throne.
For both parties, the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) is giving stiff competition, with its leader K Chandrasekhar Rao projecting Telangana as his remarkable achievement.
The Telugu Desam, which has a tie-up with the BJP, and the YSR Congress party of Jagan Mohan Reddy are fighting for top honours in Seemandhra, as the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh is known, though both are in the fray in Telangana region as credible challengers to TRS.
Former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has jumped into the electoral battle at the head of Jai Samaikyandhra Party (JSP) with the 'Unified Andhra Pradesh' as his plank and 'Cheppulu' footwear) as his symbol.
Complicating the picture further is the presence of Telugu celluloid hero, Pawan Kalyan, Power Star to his fans. He has come up with his Jana Sena, aligned himself with Narendra Modi of BJP and Chandrababu Naidu of TDP, and is drawing huge crowds. His elder brother and Union Minister, K Chiranjeevi, who has a mass following from his days as 'Mega Star' of Telugu silver screen, is heading the Congress campaign in the state.
The star campaigner for the TDP is Chandrababu Naidu, who is making a determined bid to wrest power after two successive poll losses. Jagmohan Reddy is leading the YRSCP fight at the hustings with his mother Vijayalakshmi and sister Sharmila lending a helping hand in cashing in on the legacy of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, a popular chief minister.
Vijayalakshmi is standing for the Lok Sabha from Visakhapatnam.
The two Communist Parties, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, and Lok Satta Party of IAS officer turned politician Jayaprakash Narayan are the notables fighting for sizeable presence in the Lok Sabha and the two legislatures of Telangana and Seemandhra.
While Telangana, which will go to poll in the first phase on April 30, has 265 candidates in the fray for 17 Lok Sabha seats, as many as 1669 candidates are vying for the 119 Assembly constituencies in the new state.
In the Seemandhra which comprises the coastal and Rayalaseema regions, and goes to vote on May 7, there are 333 candidates for the 25 Lok Sabha seats and altogether 2,243 candidates for the "member Assembly. Visakhapatnam, Kakinada and Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituencies- all in Coastal Andhra, have the highest number of 22 candidates each.
The honour for maximum number of contestants for an assembly seat in Seemandhra goes to Kurnool, which has 36 contestants in all. Amberpet assembly seat in Telangana has attracted the largest number of 32 candidates.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)