AP Assembly Election Results: Jagan Mohan’s Edge Over Chandrababu
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party has taken the lead with 145 seats, while Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party trails with 29 seats, as of 11 am.
The battle for the CM’s chair in Andhra Pradesh is between Telugu Desam Party’s N Chandrababu Naidu, the incumbent, and YSR Congress Party’s Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has risen meteorically on the back of his father’s popularity and his own political acumen.
The trends thus far, point to a clear YSRCP lead. It’s advantage Jagan.
Telugu media, like Telugu politics, is often a game of caste.
ETV, NTV, TV9 and Andhra Jyothi; the top Telugu news networks are all pro-Chandrababu Naidu. Over the last few weeks, they have each gone the extra mile to vilify the YSRC and extol Chandrababu Naidu's TDP.
The TDP is also ahead of YSRC and Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena combined, in advertisements. But KCR has given four seats to his family members, and a number of others to his relatives, and this has raised eyebrows.
Sakshi TV, a channel owned and run by Jagan Mohan Reddy, is the only television news channel that's in his favour. Nevertheless, opinion polls by Times Now, VMR and India TV show that YSRC vote share will rise to 49.5 percent and TDP's will fall to 36 percent. And that neither the BJP nor the Congress will be able to win a single seat.
Another feather in Jagan Mohan Reddy's cap, is the IPAC. It was this crack team of IITians who helped Modi ride his campaign to victory in 2014. They helped Nitish Kumar win in Bihar in 2015, and were behind the Congress party's victory in Punjab in 2016. So far, they've never lost an election for their client.
Caste For Votes
Jagan Reddy is contesting from Pulivendula in Kadapa district, and Chandrababu Naidu from Kuppam, which used to be a punishment posting district before Naidu made it his home turf.
So what are the prominent issues this election? Honestly, it's always been about caste, and this time it's a face-off between Chandrababu Naidu's Kammas, who make up just 5% of the population, but are highly influential.
The Reddys and the backward castes are a cluster that forms around 37%, and then you have Pawan Kalyan's Kapus, who account for 15% of the population.
So, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool, Rajamundry, Tirupati, Kakinada, Kadapa, and Anantapur - these are the most important constituencies, and the 10 largest cities in Andhra Pradesh.
Kurnool is a land mine, because there are a lot of problematic, faction-ridden constituencies, prone to violence. Rajamundry is important, being the capital city. Jagan Mohan Reddy is fielding a Backward Castes candidate from there, which is a historic first. And then you have Managalagiri, from where Naidu's son Lokesh is contesting.
The Kapu votes are all clustered between east and west Godavari districts. The campaigns are at an end.