HYDERABAD: People watching election proceedings might find it difficult to comprehend various manoeuvres of political parties which go to any length for securing victory for their candidates.
If the situation is so complicated for a single candidate, imagine the grind required when two candidates are in the fray from single constituency. Sounds strange? But there were indeed double member constituencies – a single constituency represented by two candidates – earlier.
Among the illustrious sons of the soil elected from such constituencies were Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy (Srikalahasti, 1955), Damodaram Sanjeevaiah and Kotla Vijaybhaskara Reddy (Yemmiganur, 1955). The double-member constituencies came into being in 1951-52 -- the early years of electoral politics -- for giving adequate representation to the SCa and STs. Accordingly, one candidate from general category and another from reserved category would be fielded by each party. And when election results are out, the constituency would send two representatives to the Legislative Assembly. There were 33 such double member constituencies in the erstwhile Hyderabad State (comprising Telangana districts and four districts each in Maharashtra and Karnataka) with a total 175 candidates from 142 seats. When Andhra State was formed in 1953, it had 29 such seats in the House of 167 members. While the system has representation to SCs/STs, it led to certain controversies, the famous one being the election of ST candidates from Parvatipuram L.S.seat in 1957. The candidate who was defeated by his rival in the reserved category, however, secured more votes than the two contestants of the general category. One of the defeated candidates was none other than former President V. V. Giri.
However, as the election system expanded, the double member seats were abolished (Two Member Constituency (Abolition) Act, 1961) with the constituencies bifurcated and one declared reserved.