As MLC polls nears, TRS fears horse trading

Candidates say there is a big demand from elected representatives of local bodies for cash and gifts during every MLC polls

HYDERABAD: The upcoming MLC elections under local bodies quota is going to be a costly affair for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), in all probability.

The Election Commission of India (EC) on November 9 released the schedule for biennial election to the Telangana Legislative Council from nine local authorities’ constituencies for 12 seats. All these 12 seats are currently held by the TRS, which are falling vacant in January 2022 due to the retirement of sitting MLCs. The notification will be issued on November 16 and the polling will be held on December 10.

These elections will be held for one seat each in erstwhile districts of Adilabad, Warangal, Nalgonda, Medak, Nizamabad and Khammam districts and two each in erstwhile districts of Mahbubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts.

Although the EC has released the schedule, the TRS leadership is yet to declare its candidates. TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has begun the exercise for the selection of candidates taking into consideration caste, political expertise and loyalty to the party and is likely to announce the candidates on November 15, a day before filing of nominations ends on November 16. However, there are over 60 serious contenders in the TRS eagerly waiting for tickets.

Only elected representatives of urban and local bodies, including sarpanches, ward members, councillors, ZPTCs and MPTCs are eligible to vote in these elections. Of the total elected representatives in all local bodies, nearly 90 per cent belong to ruling the TRS alone as the party has swept these elections held between 2019 and 2021.

Going by this, the victory of all the 12 candidates from the TRS is a foregone conclusion but no candidate wants to take risk with fears of poaching of their elected representatives by opposition parties.

TRS sources said candidates who were competing to secure the TRS tickets were openly sending feelers to the TRS leadership through ministers and MLAs that they were ready to spend up to Rs 10 crore to win this election. They say they are ready to shift elected representatives of local bodies to resorts and hotels in other states until December 10 polling and ready to give them cash up to Rs 5 lakh each to ensure that they vote only for the TRS.

Candidates say there is a big demand from elected representatives of local bodies for cash and gifts during every MLC polls under local bodies quota citing earlier instances of one MLC candidate distributing Maruti 800 cars to sarpanches to win MLC poll.

Candidates are trying to insist on party leadership that if any cash-rich candidate contests as independent or from any other party, the chances of poaching the TRS elected representatives will be more and to prevent this, they too are ready to spend any amount of money to counter such attempts by others.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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