HYDERABAD: The three mainstream political parties — TRS, BJP and the Congress — who have taken the elections to 17 Lok Sabha seats as a prestigious issue and fought tooth and nail, are now preparing for the nearly 40 day-long-wait for the result to out on May 23. Having invested heavily in the polls and with poor polling haunting them, no wonder, they are a bundle of nerves, irritable and unpredictable.
Though polling was less across the state compared to what it was in Assembly elections in December, it was much less in the three urban constituencies of Secunderabad and Malkajgiri, the contestants of which are spending sleepless. Though no such fear haunts AIMIM candidate Asaduddin Owaisi as his election in Hyderabad is a foregone conclusion.
According to revised figures of polling percentage furnished by the office of the CEO on Friday, the state polled 62.09 per cent of votes in all the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, which is eight per cent less than in general elections in 2014 when the state remained one. The polling percentage on Thursday 11 per cent than seen during the December Assembly elections.
The fear of expectations of contestants of city constituencies going awry stems from the fact that a low percentage of voting is an indication that the trend was favourable for the ruling party, which is more an article of faith rather than a conclusion derived from any scientific study. They believe that the low percentage voting is on account of the general feeling that people are happy and, since they want the status quo, they did not take pains in going to polling stations to vote.
In Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Malkajgiri, polling percentage was 44.75, 46.26 and 49.40 respectively which, to some extent, is attributed to about five lakh Andhra voters who live in these constituencies having left for their hometowns in the neighbouring Telugu state to vote in the general elections there. Though social media was full of jokes that residents of twin cities were more like nawabs, preferring to savour chicken biryani at home to taking the trouble of going to the polling stations, CEO Rajat Kumar said that the polling percentage, though low, was, in fact high, considering that a huge number of people had left Hyderabad.
According to analysts, another reason could be that there was no motivating factor for the voters to move out of their homes, bear the scorching heat and then vote because most of them were not personal beneficiaries of the government to be swayed by the ruling party’s performance or the promises of the Opposition parties. Equally responsible is the failure of the polling staff in updating the electoral rolls as a result of which many voters could not find their names in the last minute. With uncertainty looming large, the remaining voters seemed to have decided not take the trouble of going to the polling station. Another reason that put off many from voting was that they did not receive the voter slips, which they do a day ahead of polling.
The three main parties have their own calculations on which seats they are likely to win. The TRS believes it would be a cakewalk in all the constituencies, except Mahabubnagar and Secunderabad where the BJP is giving a tough fight for it. Congress, considered an underdog, after the TRS inflicted a crushing defeat on it in the recent Assembly elections, hopes to retrieve lost ground in Nalgonda, Khammam and Zaheerabad while the BJP hopes to retain Secunderabad and wrest Nizamabad and Mahabubnagar. Needless to say, Hyderabad will be in AIMIM kitty. Incumbent MP Asaduddin Owaisi claimed low percentage of voting was indicative of his re-election.
The TRS, by and large, is quite happy over the polling trends and the intelligence it obtained on its prospects but there are some TRS leaders wonder if low turn out might be a disadvantage to them since the elections are for forming the central government which is at present is headed by BJP where the TRS is an Opposition party. “We are not very sure if the feel-good factor is for us or the BJP,” one TRS senior leader said.