YSRC aiming to win all seven MLC seats under MLA quota

Vijayawada: The Ruling YSR Congress, on directions from Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, is cautiously moving its cards to win all the seven MLCs seats from the MLA quota, for which elections are slated for Thursday.

The YSRC started conducting mock polling besides appointing in-charges for every 22 MLAs in order to avoid any wrongdoing on their part.

The recent defeat for the YSRC in the Graduates’ constituency MLC elections meant a sudden brake to YSRC’s winning streak and this upset the ruling party. The Telugu Desam, though it does not have the numbers to win the poll, now fielded its candidate, Panchumarthi Anuradha.

In this context, the Chief Minister instructed the party’s poll managers to guard against cross voting and altogether avoid any invalidation of YSRC members’ votes, so as to win all the seven MLC seats.

The YSRC, after its landslide victory in the 2019 elections, continued the victory march in the successive elections including the bypolls, as also the polls to municipalities, corporations, panchayats, ZPTC, MPTC and MPPs. After 2019, this was the first time that the TD held its head high.

Leaders of opposition parties including Nara Chandrababu Naidu campaigned extensively for these elections, but CM Jagan Mohan Reddy kept off the campaigns in the past nearly four years. Even then, the YSRC won the polls with good majorities or by registering clean sweeps.

In these circumstances, the clean sweep of three Graduates’ MLC seats this time gave a big jolt to the ruling party.

TD MLC Candidate Panchumarthi Anuradha.

There are seven MLC vacancies and a total of eight candidates are in the fray -- seven from the YSRC and one from the TD. As per the strength in the Assembly, the YSRC has 151 MLAs, the TD 23 legislators and the Jana Sena one MLA. But, these numbers could change when it comes to a secret ballot. More so as four opposition TD MLAs along with the lone JSP MLA shifted their loyalties to the YSRC.

Two rebel MLAs of YSRC -- Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy -- are sympathetic to the TD. But, Jana Sena’s Rapaka Varaparasada Rao and four rebel TD MLAs are showing an inclination to support the YSRC. The situation is being closely watched.

The expected strength of the political parties in the Assembly after taking into account all the defections and shifts in loyalties is as follows: 154 for YSRC (149 YSRC+TD rebels 4 and 1 JS) and 21 (19 TD+2 rebel YSRC) for TD and zero for the JS.

First, the YSRC planned to field six candidates. But, expecting no competition from other political parties, the ruling party announced fielding of seven candidates, hoping for their unanimous elections. Unexpectedly, Chandrababu Naidu fielded a BC woman, Anuradha, as TD’s nominee for this poll, making an election inevitable.

Sensing the danger of invalid votes, Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the party leaders to conduct a mock polling for YSRC MLAs. Awareness on the casting of preferential votes in the MLC ballot has also been created among the party MLAs.

The YSRC has divided all its elected representatives into seven groups. Each group has 22 members. Three persons from each group are responsible for coordinating with their other members and they should ensure that the votes are cast as per the instructions of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.

According to YSRC sources, all the ruling party MLAs were put in camps for a mock polling and spread of awareness and to also avoid poaching by the TD. The YSRC has also put in place a surveillance on the movements of its legislators, so as to avoid any interaction between them and the TD.

The YSRC is expecting to win all seven vacancies if it manages to cast 22 votes for each of its MLC candidates as planned. However, if even a couple of its 154 members commit a mistake in casting their first-priority vote, the ruling party might end up with a problem.

Interestingly, both YSRC and TD have issued whips to their members regarding the MLC elections so as to avoid cross-voting.

Speaker Tammineni Sitaram announced that the first floor of the Assembly building will be used by the EC for conducting the biennial elections. He advised Cabinet ministers not to use their chambers on that floor for the entire day on March 23.

The seven YSRC MLC candidates are Jayamangala Venkataramana, Marri Rajasekhar, Chandaragiri Yesuratnam, Bommi Israel, Kola Guruvulu, Pothula Sunita and Penmetsa Varaha Venkata Suryanarayana Raju while the TD nominee is Panchumarti Anuradha.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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