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A strong anti-incumbency, caste and corruption were the major factors when voters marched to polling booths for the simultaneous election on April 11. Soaring heat, faulty EVMs and VVPAT glitches stretched the polling late into the night on election day, following which CM Chandrababu Naidu lodged a complaint with the Election Commission.

Seeking to play a crucial role in the opposition alliance against Narendra Modi, Naidu’s campaign this time was punctuated by meetings with opposition leaders, including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Naidu also led a 21-party petition at the Supreme Court to increase VVPAT verification, which was eventually turned down.

With Naidu firmly in the UPA saddle, the BJP began courting his arch-rival and YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, who may emerge as a kingmaker in the event of a hung Parliament. The Special Category Status (SCS) reportedly topped Jagan’s charter of demands, with ministries for the YSRCP coming next.

Despite an unsaid understanding with the regional parties, the Congress and the BJP contested on their own, but both the national parties looked more or less like ringside spectators of the Naidu-versus-Jagan fight.