Over 3.67 crore voters get to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives from among 333 candidates in fray for Lok Sabha and 2241 for Assembly. The elections are critical for the state, which gets formally truncated on June 2, as much as for the main political parties that are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to clinch power with the promise of re-writing the fortunes of everyone.
The stakes are very high as these elections are a do-or-die battle for Telugu Desam Party and possibly a now-or-never chance for Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress (YSRC). That the Congress, which ruled the state since 2004, is not even being counted as a contender in the elections is probably the biggest irony.
Though a new political player has emerged in the form of Jai Samaikyaandhra Party, it could end up only as an "also ran" with no relevance whatsoever.
Having been relegated to the opposition for ten years, after being in power for a nine-and-a-half-year period preceding that, the TDP is now surely battling for its political existence. Having been set up with the sole objective of seizing power, the YSRC ostensibly cannot afford to miss the occasion now.
The strong anti-corruption sentiment among people is coming to haunt the YSRC as its chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and many of its leaders are facing massive charges of corruption. Post-bifurcation, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu is being looked upon as the only leader who could "undo the injustice" and ensure rapid development of the residual state, given his experience as the Chief Minister earlier. A lot of water has flown in the state politics in the last couple of years, more so in the last nine months, where the YSRC has lost much of its steam.