A 2 per cent swing could be key in Telangana 

Data shows the outcome may depend on just a 2 per cent vote swing. The Congress and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party have teamed up to take on Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who is seeking a second term.

KCR, as Mr Rao is popularly known, had dissolved the state assembly eight months ahead of time to advance the elections. The BJP, which is trying to expand its footprint in the state, has hinted it was because of low confidence. The Chief Minister, they said, is not sure about making his pitch in the middle of a Congress-BJP battle next year.

The results will have ramifications for next year’s national elections. A victory for the alliance will place Mr Naidu – a self-styled facilitator of a united opposition – at the forefront of the opposition politicians. But in Telangana, he has shown himself as ready to take a backseat, yielding the majority of seats to Congress.

Mr Rao has pitched for a Third Front without the BJP or the Congress – a stance he is sticking to in the state elections.

A look at the Vidhan Sabha vs Lok Sabha election shows how the state voted in simultaneous elections in 2014. Data shows independents and smaller parties tend to do better in assembly elections. In 2014 state elections, TRS crossed the halfway mark comfortably but the vote share was a close three-way split between the major parties.

If the state votes in the same manner that it did in 2014, the new political tie-ups would mean a very close fight – with a 2% margin being key.

The TRS has a stronger base in the northern part of the state, with the party’s average margin of victory being as high as 20% in the 2014 elections. “Sub-nationalism” is expected to be a major factor in the election. Freebies and welfare scheme have also been a significant factor in influencing the elections in the state.

From pensions, free electricity, water taps to farm loan waiver- all had an impact. Telangana has less rural and more urban voters than the rest of India – the 29th state of the country has a 39% urban population as compared to the 30% across India.

There are eight bellwether seats to watch out for. Andole has always voted the same party that’s won the state in the last 30 years.

Will the TRS retain power in Telangana? Here’s what opinion polls suggest on who will cross the hallway mark of 60. The results will be declared on December 7, along with that of four other states.