HYDERABAD: 2,118 candidates are in the fray from 175 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, the results of which will be declared on May 23.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am on May 23, Thursday. This time, following the Supreme Court's order, the Election Commission will tally the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with five EVMs per assembly segment, which can delay the counting process for over 5 hours or more.
A little over 3.93 crore voters in Andhra Pradesh were eligible to decide the fortunes of 319 candidates who were in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats, and 2,118 candidates for the assembly polls.
In Andhra Pradesh, the key electoral contest is between Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). While BJP, Congress and other regional players and some independent candidates are also there.
The Jana Sena of actor Pawan Kalyan made its debut in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties. Meanwhile, the BJP and Congress contested all seats on their own.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, his son Nara Lokesh, YSRCP president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Pawan Kalyan, Naidu's brother-in-law and actor N Balakrishna and state Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy were among the prominent candidates to watch out for. A key feature of these polls is the electoral debut of Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who contested from the Mangalagiri assembly seat in the capital region of Amaravati. Naidu is seeking re-election from Kuppam in his native Chittoor district while Jagan has once again contested from Pulivendula, his family stronghold in Kadapa district.
While TDP's Chandrababu Naidu cited development works under his tenure to garner support, his rival Jagan Reddy alleged that the Andhra CM has miserably failed in fulfilling his promises.
The exit polls have made mixed projections as to which party will form the next government in the state. While some predicted that the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) will storm to power, others said the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will retain power and Naidu will comfortably get another term as CM.
Some exit polls gave the YSRCP 111-135 seats in 175-member assembly, others predicted that the TDP will win 90-111 seats. They predicted 1-5 seats for actor Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena, which made it electoral debut.
According to India Today-Axis My India, the YSRCP is expected to win 130-135 seats while the TDP may finish with 37-40 seats. It projected 0-1 seat for the Jana Sena. CPS predicted 130-133 seats for the YSRCP, 37 for the TDP and one for the Jana Sena.
Almost all the exit polls predicted that both Congress and BJP will draw a blank.
In 2014 elections, the TDP had won 102 seats in the 175-member Assembly while its then alliance partner BJP secured 4 seats. YSRCP emerged as the only opposition bagging 67 seats. Two independents were also elected. Interestingly, the YSRCP polled 45.01 per cent votes, a mere 1.6 per cent less than the votes polled by the TDP-BJP combine.
Out of 25 Lok Sabha seats, the TDP bagged 15 seats while BJP got two. The YSRCP secured eight seats. Facing people's wrath over bifurcation, the Congress was completely wiped out drawing blank in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.