By the time polling ended at 5 pm today, it was interesting to see how the Congress and the Telugu Desam were speaking in one language. To explain why the majority of the seats look set to go into Jaganmohan Reddy’s pocket.
While senior Congress MLA Anam Vivekananda Reddy described Jagan’s alleged crime as an “international corporate fraud” which voters are not able to fathom, TDP leader Revanth Reddy said people in rural areas can understand when you mention corruption of one lakh rupees. “But they do not understand how much does one lakh crore rupees mean.”
If an extremely high voter turnout of 80 per cent, strong anti-incumbency against the Congress and boredom with the TDP are any indication, Jagan will sleep peacefully in his barracks in Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda central prison tonight. As pointed out in posts before, YSR Congress was fairly comfortably placed in 13 of the 17 constituencies in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. There are four seats which could see the winner emerge by a narrow margin. And Parkal in Telangana, that saw 84% voting, looks set to affirm the strong Telangana sentiment once again and will land in the TRS kitty. After its defeat to the BJP in Mahbubnagar in March, the scores will be level in the TRS-BJP match.
Not that no one had seen the writing on the wall. Yesterday, a top police source, with his ear to the ground, predicted a 17/17 sweep for the YSR Congress. He said the worst news for the Congress will come from Nellore Lok Sabha seat and the result there will be an indication that UPA3 will not happen. “Nellore result will be an indication of how the politically significant coastal Andhra belt votes. If Jagan wins Nellore, it will be proof that he will sweep the coast,” he predicted.
Pretty much on the same lines was what a top gun of the political establishment in Andhra Pradesh told me soon after minister Mopidevi Venkataramana’s arrest. “I will have to say outside that this arrest will not affect our chances. But the fact is the entire fishermen community, to which Mopidevi belongs, will not vote for us in any coastal Andhra constituency,” he said.
Political observers also say the timing of Jagan’s arrest damaged the Congress chances. I beg to differ. The political decision to go ahead with the arrest was taken primarily because Jagan was seen to be pinch hitting the Congress out of the match. Now to say the Congress took the power play at the wrong time does not make sense because the party simply had no choice.
Interestingly, the TDP insists the Congress government will not fall. It is one of the ironies of politics that two parties fiercely opposed to each other find themselves batting for each other. The gameplan is to save their wicket and play out till 2014.
Does Jagan have a doosra in his arsenal now?