The two Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which lost their centrality in national politics after the 2014 bifurcation, have suddenly come centre stage. Both BJP and Congress are counting heavily on these two states this time for different reasons.

The two States go to polls in a single phase, the fourth phase nationally, on May 13.

The BJP is trying to make up for its likely losses in Karnataka by winning at least 8-10 seats in Telangana and 2-3 seats in Andhra Pradesh. While it is contesting in all 17 seats in Telangana, it fielded its candidates in six seats through an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party and Jana Sena in Andhra Pradesh.

Riding on its success in the recent Assembly elections, the Congress is attempting to repeat its performance and bag 8-10 seats. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2023 Assembly elections, claims that it is going to make a comeback by winning maximum number of seats.

“People are vexed with the Congress in just six months. It failed them on all fronts. Power cuts are back. Farmers are not getting the support. Water crisis has hit the agricultural sector. We will win 12-14 seats and play a crucial role in national politics,” BRS President K Chandrashekar Rao said.

“It is neither the BJP nor Congress that is going to form the government. They will be forced to support regional parties in forming the government,” he said on Saturday.

With 42 Lok Sabha seats, the undivided Andhra Pradesh used to play a significant role till 2014. With a bagful of seats, TDP leaders NT Rama Rao, N Chandrababu Naidu, and Congress leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy used to play a significant part in Delhi politics. But this changed after the bifurcation in 2014, as Andhra Pradesh with 25 seats and Telangana with 17 seats shrank in their political clout.

Though the ruling YSRCP won 22 out of 25 seats in the AP and BRS clinched 9 out of 17 seats in the 2019 elections, they didn’t have any national significance. No one paid attention to them when they demanded the Centre to honour the bifurcation demands.

However, this time, the two States have suddenly regained some of their clout, with political analysts predicting losses for the ruling BJP in other States.

In AP, the ruling YSRCP is banking on the rural vote base, where the bulk of the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes reside. The party’s LS seat tally is set to fall and might settle for 12-14, with the TDP-BJP-Jana Sena alliance bagging the remaining seats. The TDP is contesting in 17 seats, while the Jana Sena is contesting in two seats.

Though the Assembly election in AP is hogging the limelight, the election to LS is also keenly watched as it is as big as Gujarat or Rajasthan.

“The two States have assumed significance this time as analysts forecast a coalition government at the Centre. Every single State is important this time, as are AP and Telangana. It had to enter into a forcible alliance with the TDP in AP to compensate for likely losses in the North,” political analyst D Papa Rao said. “Though YSRCP had been an ally for them, the BJP had to look at AP seriously as they wanted to increase their own tally. The BRS too might play a key role,” he said.