Hyderabad: Exit polls predicting a clear victory for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance have thrown the two Telugu states in confusion as the ruling parties of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were basing all their strategies on calculations that the Lok Sabha election will throw up a hung Parliament.
While Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has gone into a huddle with his advisers and senior party leaders weighing his options, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was still confident that his Telugu Desam Party will not only retain power in the state but will also win the majority of 25 Lok Sabha seats.
There was more anxiety and tension in Andhra Pradesh where the people have voted for the state assembly along with Lok Sabha and the election was going to decide who will get to rule the state for the next five years.
While most of the exit polls have predicted YSR Congress party led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy getting clear majority in the state assembly, Telugu Desam have not given up hopes as at least two other polls have shown the party ahead.
YSR Congress party cadres and leaders were elated over the exit poll results and have started preparations for the bigger celebrations on Thursday when the EVMs will be opened, but Chandrababu Naidu dismissed their joy as “premature” and said, “nobody is going to stop the TDP from returning to power for a second term”. But at the national level the attention was primarily as focused on the possible role the three regional parties — TRS, TDP and YSRCP — will play at the national level after May 23.
Chandrababu Naidu continued his mission of forging unity among all the non-BJP parties even after the exit polls and met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and discussed the strategy to be adopted in case of a hung Parliament. He told the media that the exit polls were proved many times wrong in the past, including 2014, and they will turn out to be wrong this time. “I don’t have any doubts that we are going to emerge winner and will play a major role at the Centre”, he told a media conference.
Meanwhile, YSR Congress leaders were unwilling to come out with their views saying that the party was waiting for the poll results and will comment only on Thursday after the last vote was counted.
While party sources confirmed that both the leaders of Congress and the BJP had approached YSRCP for its support, the party has not responded to them. While former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sharad Pawar spoke to Jaganmohan Reddy on Tuesday, other party leaders speaking on condition of anonymity said that if it comes to choosing between Congress and the BJP at the centre, decision will depend on certain condition. “First and most important condition is an assurance in writing that the new government at the Centre will give Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh and the second is that Chandrababu Naidu should not have any role in the coalition which wants our support,” a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, KCR held a meeting with the senior leaders of TRS to discuss the exit poll results and focused his attention only on the number of Lok Sabha seats the party was likely to win. According to the sources, he did not mention anything about his proposed Federal Front and his efforts to emerge a kingmaker. TRS sources revealed that the party had scaled down its expectations of sweeping the state clean and winning all the 17 Lok Sabha seats along with MIM. In the final analysis TRS was now hoping to win 11-12 seats with at least one seat each going to Congress and the BJP. MIM was all set to retain its hold over Hyderabad, all exit polls concluded.
The silence of KCR on Federal Front was being seen as an admission that the party will not have any major role to play in case BJP-led NDA secures a clear majority. “In that case we will continue to have a constructive and friendly relations with the Centre in the best interest of the state”, a senior leader quipped.
“We will wait for the exact results before commenting. Federal Front will have a role to play only if BJP or Congress don’t secure the required numbers”, said B Vinod Kumar, senior TRS leader who had accompanied KCR in meeting other regional party leaders.