Hyderabad: The calculators are out and the stage is set for intense politicking, with the TRS-MIM forcing an election on the Legislative Council and jolting the Congress, which had assumed that the fifth seat was its for the taking.
Nominations will end on February 28 and it appears that the political jockeying will go on right up till the March 12 elections.
To win in the first round, each MLC candidate will need 21 MLAs. If any candidate falls short, the second preference votes come into play. The TRS is on much stronger ground here.
A total of 120 MLAs will vote, including nominated legislator Elvis Stephenson. The TRS has 91 votes, including that of Mr Stephenson, and seven of ally MIM, totalling 98.
The Opposition has 21 votes — 19 of the Congress and two of the Telugu Desam.
According to speculation, TD MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah is likely to join the TRS, taking the ruling party alliance to 99 and bringing down the Congress numbers to 20.
The TRS will win four MLC seats in the first round with 84 votes at 21 MLAs per MLC. The MIM candidate will get its own seven votes and the TRS’s remaining eight MLAs (including Mr Veeraiah), totalling 15.
If just three Opposition MLAs vote for the ruling combine, the Congress will fall to 17 and the MIM will rise to 18. At this time, the MIM candidate will benefit from second preference votes from the 84 TRS MLAs. If the ruling combine cannot snag three Congress MLAs, it has to ensure that five of them abstain.
Even as the permutations are being worked out, the issue came up when TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao met state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka at the CLP office in the Assembly on Saturday to request them to allow the Deputy Speaker’s election to be unanimous.
Mr Uttam Kumr Reddy told Mr Rama Rao that the convention of unanimous election of Deputy Speaker should be extended to the MLC elections as well.
Mr Rama Rao later told journalists, “We have the strength to win all five MLC seats. That is why we are contesting with the MIM.”