Ward panel polls: new equations to cast shadow

Staff Reporter

Congress doesn’t want to lose any committee

In last polls, Congress won 3 and Left parties 2

VIJAYAWADA: Changing political equations in the city are likely to cast a shadow on the elections to the ward committees scheduled to be held on January 5, 2009.

The ward committee elections will be a challenging task for both the ruling Congress and the Opposition parties. And, for various reasons, retaining or winning the committees is unlikely to be a cakewalk for both the groups. Of all the five committees, elections to second and fifth committees are likely to attract maximum attention.

The second ward committee has five corporators loyal to Vijayawada East MLA Vangaveeti Radhakrishna, who joined the Praja Rajyam Party, while MP Lagadapati Rajagopal and Kankipadu MLA Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru) have a member each.

Senior leaders in the Congress say that “barring one or two corporators” in Mr. Radhakrishna’s group, all others will not leave the Congress to join the PRP. Notwithstanding this public posturing, the party strategists are in a dilemma over fielding a corporator for the chairpersonship of the second ward committee. They are forced to rely on Mr. Radhakrishna’s group to retain the committee, as the combined strength of Opposition parties in the 12-member committee is five. The Congress doesn’t want to lose any ward committee, as its strength in the Standing Committee – the executive arm of the VMC comprising the chairpersons of all the five ward committee – will get reduced to two in the event of losing the second ward committee. The CPI and the CPI (M) have been winning third and fifth wards all these years. The ruling party would have to bow down to the dictates of the Opposition parties if its strength is reduced to two in the Standing Committee.

When elections were held in 2006, the CPI (M) wrested the post of chairperson of the fifth committee by aligning with the TDP. With the support of the CPI, the Congress won the first, second and fourth committees, and gave away the third committee to the CPI. In the last elections, the CPI and the CPI (M) won third and fifth committees, respectively, while the Congress won the first, second and fourth. On the other hand, the TDP, it is learnt, will ask the CPI (M) to give a chance to it to contest for the post of chairperson of fifth ward committee. In view of its newly forged alliance with the TDP at the State level, the CPI (M) will have to honour the request of its ally.

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