Seemandhra Votes with a Vengeance - The New Indian Express

Seemandhra Votes with a Vengeance

Published: 08th May 2014 08:56 AM

Last Updated: 08th May 2014 09:11 AM

If Telangana voted to express its gratitude, Seemandhra voted with a vengeance Wednesday. Voters, particularly women and the youth, turned up in huge numbers, perhaps unprecedented, to decide the fate of the two main parties in the fray, TDP and YSRC, in the 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly constituencies.

Though it remains to be seen if their vote is meant to teach a lesson to the parties that helped divide the State or choose a leader who could show the way ahead, the polling percentage in urban and rural areas across the 13 districts is giving hope to both the YSRC and the TDP. Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal told reporters that the overall voter turnout in the residuary State could be well over 78, almost 80, compared to 76 in 2009.

Citing internal surveys, the YSRC managers claimed the party will form the first government in the residuary State besides bagging a majority of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. Their confidence stems from the high percentage of voting by weaker sections and SCs/STs in several segments from Srikakulam to Chittoor districts. They are also pointing at the relatively high turnout in rural areas to claim victory.

On the other hand, TDP leaders, who had been on tenterhooks till the polling ended, heaved a sigh of relief after it was clear that the overall voting percentage could touch 80.

As the party was primarily banking on its chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s image as an experienced and efficient leader and the Modi wave, its main hope was first-time voters, youngsters and the educated class. Initially, with the turnout in urban areas rather poor, the TDP managers went through a few anxious moments. Naidu held teleconference meetings with party leaders in every segment throughout the day and repeatedly asked them to see to it that the polling percentage crosses 80,  which it seems they did.

However, there is a catch here for both the YSRC and the TDP-BJP combine. If they are confident of winning a Lok Sabha constituency, they are not as sure of bagging Assembly seats that come under its jurisdiction.

The election itself was dramatic. There were clashes between TDP and YSRC cadres at several places, though by and large, the authorities managed to hold the polls peacefully. Clashes were reported from Kadapa, Guntur, Anantapur and Chittoor districts with YSRC and TDP blaming each other for the violence. Two persons, including a polling official, died of heart-attack during the day.

Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal later in the evening declared, “Barring stray incidence of violence in two-three places such as Rompicherla mandal in Narsaraopet, entire polling passed off peacefully,” he said.

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