As the process of filing nominations ended and scrutiny begun, the stage has been set in Andhra Pradesh for the first independent assembly elections.
The voting will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls on April 11. The results will be declared on May 23.
The state had last voted in 2014 and elected the N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to form the government. The party, which had won 102 assembly seats out of the tally of 175, is making all efforts to retain power.
However, allies in the 2014 assembly polls have turned rivals now.
In 2014, TDP contested in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party (JSP). However, the TDP pulled out of the alliance in March 2018 over the central government's refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
The broken alliance has led to a multi-cornered fight in the state.
Here are the major parties contesting AP assembly polls:
Telugu Desam Party
The ruling TDP is eyeing to retain power. It is no secret that after his break-up with BJP, party chief Naidu has grown closer to Congress President Rahul Gandhi. But, after the TDP-Congress experiment failed in the Telangana assembly polls in 2018, both parties announced that they would not have a tie-up in forthcoming Andhra polls.
The party is going it alone in the polls this year.
YSR Congress party
The TDP will face major competition from YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). After losing to the TDP in 2014, the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led party is looking to win the state this time. The leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Jagan has made it clear that he will not be part of any alliance.
Son of former AP Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, Jagan has gained prominence after Praja Sankalpa Yatra. For over a period of 14 months, beginning November 2017, Jagan toured the state walking 3,600 km, covering thousands of villages. The yatra showed Jagan as a committed and strong leader and brought him closer to the voters.
Jana Sena Party
Seeking to emerge as a potent third force in the state, the Jana Sena of Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan has teamed up with the Bahujan Samaj Party, the CPI and the CPI(M) for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Bharatiya Janata Barty
The BJP is fighting it alone with the aim to add one more state in its kitty. The party had in 2018 contested alone in Telangana where it managed to win just one seat. It will now look forward to gaining a better position in Andhra.
CongressThe Congress, unlike Telangana where it contested with the TDP, has opted to go it alone in Andhra. However, considering that both parties are active players in the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), the possibility of a tacit understanding for a post-poll alliance among the two cannot be ruled out.