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2.01 lakh more women voted – comparative impact on AP poll

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Hectic calculations are being made on how the women voters are going to influence the AP poll outcome. As per the projections, it is true women have shown more enthusiasm compared to previous election. In 2014, only 33,448 more women voted when compared with men. But in 2019, over 2.35 lakh more women voted when compared with men. It means there is a difference of nearly 2.01 lakh women voters between the two elections.

Analysts say that this is not a small number and 500 to 2000 excess women voters are expected to impact the result in each of the 175 assembly segments. It is felt that not all women are swayed by the Pasupu Kumkuma and other cash benefits under the government’s welfare programmes. But it is undoubted that majority of these women beneficiaries have voted in favour of the TDP government.

There is also one view that most of these poor women beneficiaries are under pressure from local groups and their own families. This is the reason why they are not able to openly speak favourably of TDP. Moreover, women do not usually favour parties facing allegations of criminal charges. The Viveka murder has also shocked them. As is being said, there is a silent vote among these women. This is evident from how considerably larger number of women voted in this election.

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Over 79% polling in Andhra Pradesh

A little over 79 per cent voters cast their votes in the simultaneous elections to 175-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats on Thursday, poll officials said on Friday.

Officials said 79.05 per cent turnout was recorded but this may go up further as final polling figure was yet to be received from Mangalagiri Assembly segment.

The polling percentage has gone up compared to 2014 elections when 77.80 per cent turnout was recorded.

The Election Commission has not yet taken a decision on the demand by some parties for a repoll in a few polling booths, where the poll process was affected by malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) or poll violence.

Two persons were killed and scores of others injured in clashes between workers of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

The polling was marred by complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs in several booths. The polling in 400 polling stations continued beyond 6 p.m. and in some places voters cast their votes past midnight.

Authorities had set up 46,120 polling stations for a little over 3.93 crore voters.

There were 319 candidates in fray for Lok Sabha seats while 2,118 candidates contested the Assembly polls.

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Early long queues – sign of pro-sentiment vote

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Right from the start of polling, large numbers of voters formed queues at the polling stations. The polling started at 7 am. Voters started arriving half an hour before itself. Large numbers of women were seen coming by 7.30 am. Nearly 100 to two hundred voters are seen waiting in queues by 8 am. This early high voter turnout indicates the likelihood of a higher polling percentage.

There is enthusiastic turnout from the aged persons and women. This is being seen as an indication of pro-welfare mood prevailing strongly in the state. Analysts say there’s also a favourable sentiment running deep among the voters. The AP people are clearly inclined to vote against the parties that have done injustice to the state. The people’s consciousness is one of disappointment ever since the 2014 state separation. It’s still running deep. This is the second election for residual Andhra Pradesh. Once again, the sentiment is stronger just like in 2014.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, his wife Bhuvaneswari, Minister Lokesh and his wife Brahmani cast their votes at the Undavalli polling station. Vijayawada MP candidate Kesineni Nani along with family members cast votes at Gunadala.

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Naidu may manipulate Pawan again – Vijayasai cautions YCP

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YCP MP Vijayasai Reddy made sensational comments on the present election. He asked the YCP leaders not to be overconfident and not to mislead the cadres as if the victory is already in hands and only the swearing-in of Jaganmohan Reddy is to be taken up. This kind of easy attitude is not good and it will destroy the YCP forever. Vijayasai cautioned that Jagan is fighting with a shrewd manipulator like Chandrababu Naidu. If the YCP leaders are relaxed now, it will be an advantage for the TDP. Vijayasai said that there’s an opportunity only and all efforts are to be made to counter Naidu’s gimmicks.

Vijayasai also passed serious comments on the AP voters. He said that the AP people are not dependable like the Telangana people. The AP voters are divided along castes and the TDP is taking advantage of these castes, Vijayasai told his party cadres. Vijayasai said that there’s also a threat from Chandrababu Naidu who is excellent in manipulating caste based vote banks. Vijayasai also expressed concern that Naidu may once again visit Pawan’s residence and fall at his feet to take political advantage.

TDP spokesman Lanka Dinakar said this showed how ‘Vishapusai Reddy’ is spreading poison among the voters.

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BJP, Congress keen on Target-5 in Telangana

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At a time when Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is working on Target-16 in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, opposition parties Congress and BJP are keen on taking advantage in constituencies, where TRS fielded inexperienced candidates. As part of this strategy, BJP and Congress are leaving no stone unturned to bag five Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.

TRS’ candidates in five Lok Sabha constituencies – Secunderabad, Mahbubnagar, Malkajgiri, Chevella and Nalgonda are either newcomers or lack political experience. BJP and Congress are working hard on these five MP seats.

TRS has denied ticket to sitting MP Jithender Reddy and fielded a pharma industrialist M Srinivas Reddy in Mahbubnagar. Former Congress minister and senior leader in the district DK Aruna has joined BJP and contesting here as Lok Sabha candidate. Jithender Reddy has also joined BJP. This has created a tough competition for TRS.

Talasani Sai Kiran Yadav, son of TRS minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav, is a newcomer and contesting on TRS ticket in Secunderabad. BJP has denied ticket to sitting MP Bandaru Dattatreya and is fielding Kishan Reddy, who lost in Assembly elections from Amberpet. Anjan Kumar Yadav of Congress is also in the fray.

M Rajashekhar Reddy, the son-in-law of C Malla Reddy, former Malkajgiri MP and TRS minister, is entering politics by contesting on TRS ticket in Malkajgiri. Congress working president A Revanth Reddy and BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao are contesting for Malkajgiri MP seat.

TRS candidate G Ranjit Reddy, a poultry industrialist, is new to politics and contesting in Chevella Lok Sabha seat against Konda Vishweshwar Reddy of Congress and B Janardhan Reddy of BJP. Vishweshwar Reddy won from Chevella on TRS ticket in 2014 elections and joined Congress before Assembly elections.

TRS has fielded a new candidate in Nalgona Lok Sabha constituency, while TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and BJP’s G Jithender Kumar are contesting for this MP seat.

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Are Jana Sena, CPI parting ways?

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The announcement of the candidate by Jana Sena in Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency may distance CPI from the alliance. Jana Sena is in poll alliance with CPI and BSP. As part of this alliance, Jana Sena allocated Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency to CPI, which has already announced Chalasani Ajay Kumar. CPI has made arrangements for nomination on Monday as well. At this juncture, Jana Sena unexpectedly announced its candidate for Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency.

Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan has announced Muthamshetty Prasad babu as the party candidate for Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency. Pawan Kalyan on Saturday addressed at two public meetings in Vijayawada as well. However, CPI leaders and cadres kept themselves away from Pawan Kalyan’s tour.

Pawan Kalyan in the last minute changed his strategy and fielded Prasad babu in Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency.

As part of the poll alliance, CPI asked for Vijayawada West constituency. But, Pawan Kalyan oped for Vijayawada west and instead allocated Nuziveedu to CPI. Subsequently, CPI announced Akkineni Vanaja for this constituency. But, Jana Sean rolled back its decision on Nuziveedu as well. For this, Jana Sena allocated Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency to CPI. Now, again Pawan Kalyan changed his decision on this seat as well. This made CPI leaders angry over frequent changes in Pawan Kalyan decisions. CPI cadres are keeping the pressure on leaders to go for contesting alone.

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Will Muslims vote for Balakrishna? – Hindupuram segment

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One of the TDP’s undoubted strongholds is Hindupuram assembly segment in Anantapur district. The TDP’s main strength is the predominant BC population who comprise nearly 50 per cent of the voters. The Muslims are the second largest vote bank in the segment.

As of now, the Muslims are in general favouring the TDP as it’s fighting against the BJP. The Muslim votes are crucial for the YCP to give some fight to the TDP. This is why Jagan gave the party ticket to a retired Muslim police officer Iqbal. Will this tactic help the YCP? The TDP leaders are trying to get the support of all the Muslim voters to a maximum extent. YCP’s secret deal with BJP is proving to be another advantage for TDP.

The fans of TDP candidate Balakrishna are confident of certain victory going by the election arithmetic. Balakrishna’s film glamour and the fact of his being NTR’s son will remain major strengths. Adding to this, the Chandrababu government’s Pasupu Kumkuma and pensions hike are giving fair chances to Balakrishna. The TDP’s BC vote bank has remained largely undisturbed. There’s a little dissatisfaction over Balakrishna not directly available in the segment but it is not expected to give major problems. The YCP’s efforts to split the BC vote bank may not have a big impact.

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Pawan Kalyan promises Free Education till Intermediate if voted to power

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Actor-cum-politician Pawan Kalyan said that he will provide free education from Nursery to Intermediate if Jana Sena is voted to power and proclaimed that they will design required policies to ensure successful implementation of this programme. He said that teachers will be paid salaries on par or may be more than the IT and banking sector employees.

Jana Sena when it comes to power will give top most priority to law and order, followed by education and agriculture sectors. He said commercial and business sectors will also be given precedence.

Kalyan expects the quality of education in government schools to be on par with the corporate schools. He said that major changes have to be made to the curriculum, as they don’t include community education which is essential for students.

The Jana Sena chief believes that the teachers should be trained and paid well so that they can provide higher standards of education to students.

He said that the funds spent by the government for the education sector should not be considered as investment. Kalyan said the education sector will have highest allocation in the budget in the Jana Sena regime.

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It’s high time Rahul made AICC president: Sachin Pilot

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Former union minister and Rajasthan PCC president Sachin Pilot feels it is high time that Rahul Gandhi made AICC chief in order to make the party fit for 2019 elections. Sachin Pilot, who was in Hyderabad today in connection with the Warangal byelection, was categorical in his views that Rahul leadership was necessary to take keep the party flag high. Sachin, a member of Rahul’s ‘young brigade’, said Rahul’s leadership was necessary for the transition of the party from the present state to the election mode in 2019. The young Congress leader left for Station Ghanpur to participate in Congress election campaign for Sarve Satyanarayana, Congress candidate in Warangal byelection.

He attributed the credit of the success of the Bihar experiment to the AICC vice president, who is said to be the author of the Bihar’s grand alliance. It may recalled that the Congress won 28 seats of the 41 it contested. For the party it was a massive mandate given the fact that the party had just four seats in previous Assembly.

In his view the Bihar Assembly elections has rejuvenated the Congress and boosted the morale of the rank and file. ” The party is now showing signs of recovery after the drubbing it received in Lok Sabha polls last year,” he said.

“But more than that, it’s a fact that secular parties came together on a platform- grand alliance. Rahul Gandhi was the one who first broached the idea and had a meeting with Nitish Kumar. Nitish had been projected as CM candidate and then of course, Lalu Yadav joined the alliance,” he said in an interview to PTI.

Asked if the poll outcome would hasten the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party President, Pilot said it all depends on the Congress Working Committee, party President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul himself.

“But we will like it to happen as soon as possible because now the party is steadily (growing in strength again) and we have elections in Assam, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal etc.”, Sachin said hoping that party would emerge much stronger under Rahul’ s leadership.

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