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Bypolls for local bodies in Telangana likely before Assembly elections

DECCAN CHRONICLE | L. Venkat Ram Reddy

Published on: April 6, 2023 | Updated on: April 7, 2023

Telangana is most likely to witness byelections for local bodies before the Assembly elections in December of this year.  (Representational Photo: PTI)

Hyderabad: Telangana is most likely to witness byelections for local bodies before the Assembly elections in December of this year. Over 6,000 seats pertaining to sarpanches, vice-sarpanches, MPTCs, ZPTCs, councillors and corporators have been vacant for three years for various reasons.

In March, a petition was filed in Telangana High Court against the government for not holding the byelections after 2019. The court served notices on state government as well as the TS Election Commission (TSEC), ordering them to reply by April 20. Holding the bypolls would help political parties gauge voter sentiment ahead of the Assembly elections.

Panchayat Raj minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao on Thursday held a meeting with officials to discuss the report to be submitted to the High Court. On Wednesday, the TSEC released a list of recognised parties eligible to contest the local body elections, lending credence to reports that the government is willingness to conduct the byelections.

In the last three years, the TSEC has written to the state government several times seeking approval to conduct the byelections to local bodies. There was no response though the government held a series of others elections and by-elections.

There are 5,727 vacancies for ward members, 344 vice-sarpanches, 246 sarpanches, 120 mandal parishad territorial committee (MPTC) members, six mandal parishad presidents (MPPs), three vice-MPPs, three ZPTCs, two MPP co-option members, one ZP vice-chairperson and 21 councillors/corporators, according to TSEC data.

In the elections held in 2019, the TRS won nearly 95 per cent of the seats. After winning the Dubbak and Huzurnagar byelections and its good show in the GHMC polls, the BJP established itself as a powerful political force. As a result, sources said, the BRS was wary of holding byelections for the local bodies.

The BRS trounced the BJP in Munugode in November of last year. Following this, the ruling party is now eager to conduct bypolls for local bodies, believing that if it wins a majority of these seats, it will not only be able to check the rise of the BJP and Congress in Telangana before the Assembly elections but also energise the cadre.