The acerbic campaigning for the high stakes simultaneous April 11 elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly ended in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. The fortnight-long electioneering had been anything but decent, with top leaders of the main contesting parties TDP and YSR Congress often hurling the choicest expletives at each other.
Elections for all 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats will be held simultaneously in one go from 7 AM to 6 PM on April 11.
Telugu Desam Party president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s campaign theme centered around bashing the “evil trio” of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, (Telangana Chief Minister) K Chandrasekhar Rao and (YSR Congress president) YS Jaganmohan Reddy. He called them names and went to the extent of branding Jagan a “hardcore criminal.” The Chief Minister warned people that they would be writing their “dying declaration” if they voted for the YSRC.
“Only I am your saviour. If you don’t elect me (again), the state will go to the dogs,” was Naidu’s constant refrain.
Besides Rao, Chandrababu Naidu also projected Modi as the ‘villain’ bent on wrecking the state’s progress.
The YSRC chief, on the other hand, went to the people requesting that he be given “one chance” to usher in a “welfare state” modelled on the lines of his late father YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s administration.
The third player in the current elections was actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan of the Jana Sena.
Kalyan spoke in many voices, once saying he would become Chief Minister (in May) and later claiming he was here for the “long run” and was, hence, not hankering for power.
He was critical of the TDP, only in the manner of touch-and-go, but almost parroted everything Naidu spoke.
Kalyan lambasted the Prime Minister, the Telangana Chief Minister and the YSRC president, much like the TDP chief.
When it came to appeasing voters though, Naidu, Jagan and Kalyan tried to outdo each other by announcing a slew of freebies like baby showers, laptops, homes, LPG cylinders, crop insurance, education, healthcare, medicines, bicycles, bus rides and virtually everything else
Among the issues raised in the campaign was grant of Special Category Status for the state, construction of capital city Amaravati, major projects like Polavaram.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed two meetings each in the state, where the main players are TDP and YSRC.