The situation will worsen for the Congress and TDP if the YSR Congress fields its own candidates

The ensuing Rajya Sabha elections to fill six vacancies from the State will lend a new political dimension to the bifurcation tangle as the Congress and the TDP slug it out to get their candidates elected while YSRC may be the party spoiler.

The Election Commission on Monday issued notification for 55 vacancies across the country, including six in the State. Congress members K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, T. Ratna Bai, T. Subbarami Reddy, M.A. Khan and Nandi Yellaiah are retiring on completion of their term. The sixth vacancy arose after TDP member N. Harikrishna resigned following the Centre’s decision to divide the State.

Party positions

The Congress with its existing strength should win three seats comfortably and bag a fourth one with the support of friendly parties like the TRS and the MIM. The TDP, on the other hand, is in a position to win two seats. Party sources say the Congress will field two candidates from each region to prevent polarisation of votes along regional lines while the TDP will field one nominee from Telangana and another from Seemandhra. Yet, both will fall short of requisite numbers in Telangana where the Congress has 50 MLAs and the TDP 34 (including two openly siding with the TRS).

The Congress can bridge the gap with the support of pro-Telangana parties while the TDP can only bank upon its Seemandhra MLAs voting for fellow partymen from Telangana. Given the 15 vacancies in the 294-member Assembly, a winner has to secure at least 39 votes. The party-wise strength is Congress: 146, TDP 80, TRS and YSR Congress 17 each, MIM seven, CPI four, BJP and Independents three each, Lok Satta and CPI (M) one each.

On paper, the Congress party’s numbers look good. But, the TDP and the YSR Congress could poach upon its MLAs in Seemandhra, many of whom are disgruntled. The situation will worsen if the YSR Congress chooses to leverage the fluid situation by fielding its own candidate. Six Congress MLAs are already sailing with Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy raising his party’s effective strength to 23. The ruling party may run into further trouble if the legislators of the erstwhile Praja Rajyam choose to vote for the TDP. Cross-voting will be a reality as the major parties gain nothing by seeking disqualification when elections are round the corner. They need not fear the whip too.