Even the worst critic of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) gave them 30-35 seats in this election to the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Assembly, and the party belied his expectations too! With a vote share of 15%, 18 seats, second place in 38 seats, and poor to abysmal performance in the remaining 242 seats, the party got its rudest awakening calls.
Lot of analysts are blaming the lack of structure and infrastructure, escessive reliance on the image rather than the message, losing the confidence of fans while sitting in AC rooms :P, and more importantly the haphazard way in which the tickets were distributed. People are quick to point out to Aravind, Mitra etc for the failures. I am actually perplexed as to why people are missing the main reason for this defeat – Chiranjeevi himself. His arrogant attitude, his careless preparation, and his over confidence are the primary reason why so many of them had to suffer today. He is the ONLY person who is responsible for this chaos. Only when he gets clarity in his mind as to what he wishes to do, will there be any hope of improvement.
PRP did eat into the vote share of the Telugu Desam (TDP) more than anything else. Chandrababu Naidu and TDP spared no attempt to come back to power (read more about it here). The alliance with TRS failed to the maximum possible extent. But what caused the maximum damage is the fact the people still found it difficult to trust him. YSR’s “you did it, so big deal if I do it” kind of campaign further cemented people’s opinion on Naidu. His free for all schemes clearly did not show the desired effect.
The interesting fact this time is that he lost power due to a 2% difference in the vote share!! TDP alliance for 34.54% share of the vote as opposed to the 36.53% of the Congress. And though the TDP alliance got lesser votes than last time, it won more seats!! Strange indeed are electoral maths! The party still has its cadre intact, and to rise to a significant opposition party is something positive but in politics who would want to remain in opposition for such a long time! TRS and his own image are the two main reasons why he could not finish off what he started.
One thing you have to give to YSR – it was truly a one man show. The fact that 14 of his ministers lost further reinforces this fact! His firm stand on Telangana and the selection of candidates paid very rich dividends. And of course his policies too have helped in people not bringing him down this time. The number of seats is much less than what he won in 2004, and this time he has to face a strong opposition too. It will be very interesting to watch how the next 5 years go.
What is however more interesting is that the Congress won more number of parliamentary seats not in proportion to the number of assembly seats won. Vote share wise too there is a marked difference in the two patterns. Congress got a vote share of ~39% in Lok Sabha seats compared to 36% in assembly. Similarly TDP alliance got about 30% vote share compared to ~35% in the assembly. And the local candidate mattered a lot in the assembly election while the party mattered a lot in the national election. This clearly shows the voter was able to differentiate between their requirements for state and national governments.
JP won :-). This is a simple beginning and the actual task of building his party begins now. His performance in the Assembly is something that a lot of people are waiting to watch.
The most important thing to note from this election is that Telangana will take a complete backseat now. The people have once again clearly told that they are not in favour of a separate state. My address will still read as Hyderabad, AP ;-)
More than at the national level, the campaign and the 1 year period preceding it has been vitriolic in nature. It was seen as a clash of personalities and we do have a winner now. AP has seen one of the best polling percentages in the entire country. And the best part - In exercising his choice, the voter was not emotional, but thoughtful.