Statehood for Telangana was approved in February 2014, months before the national elections were held. But the severance did not take place till June, by which time the new government was sworn in. So technically, this is the first Lok Sabha election in the state.
In the assembly polls held in December last year, K Chandrashekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS won 88 of the 119 assembly seats. These 88 seats covered an area that would guarantee it 15 Lok Sabha seats.
Bolstered by its thumping win in the Assembly polls in December last, TRS has set itself a target of winning 16 seats, leaving the Hyderabad seat to its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM).
The News Nation Exit Poll has also predicted 16 seats for the TRS while both the BJP and the Congress will not be able to open their accounts in the state.
In addition to its own strength, TRS has the backing of Owaisi, which is expected to help the party get minority votes.
The main opposition Congress is going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls.
Still smarting under its humiliating defeat in the Assembly polls (it secured only 19 of the total of 119 seats), the Congress suffered a major blow this month with as many as nine MLAs announcing their decision to quit the party to join TRS.
Besides the MLAs, several leaders, including former MLAs, have also joined the TRS.
The desertions have left the Congress disappointed and seen an erosion in its ranks.
The opposition CPI and Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS), who are contesting in only a couple of seats each, have declared their support and help to the Congress.
However, there is no formal alliance among Congress, CPI and the TJS.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the ruling party in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, has decided not to field candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, a first since its formation in 1982.
The TDP has in principle acceded to the Congress' request for support.
The CPI and CPI(M), who fought the Assembly polls separately, have come together for the Lok Sabha elections and are fighting two seats each in Telangana.
Having suffered a drubbing in the Assembly elections (winning only one seat among 119), BJP is contesting all the seats on its own.
The party is banking heavily on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Political analyst Telakapalli Ravi feels it will be a cakewalk for TRS as the Congress has lost its strength following desertions.
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