ANDHRA PRADESH

Will TDP reach the double-digit figure?

Congress keen on spoiling TDP's plan to corner three key municipalities

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Political activity has intensified on the eve of the indirect elections to the posts of chairpersons of municipalities and mayors of corporations on Friday.

The Congress, which has won a clear mandate in 68 municipalities (including the eight in which it has a pre-poll alliance with the Left) and eight corporations, is keenly watching the Telugu Desam Party's moves in Dharmavaram and Guntakal and that of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Vizianagaram.

The ruling party's efforts are directed at preventing the main Opposition from reaching the double-digit figure. The TDP has a clear mandate in just six municipalities - Bheemunipatnam, Mandapeta, Bheemavaram, Pedana, Gudivada and Gudur. It is also set to win Sircilla where it won 14 out of 29 wards against the Congress party's seven.

In Vizianagaram

Vizianagaram Municipality is all set to throw a surprise as 13 independents out of 14 belong to the BSP. The Congress could bag 13 wards and the TDP 11. If the TDP decides to support the BSP, then it will not reach the double figure even if it manages to put up a good show in Dharmavaram and Guntakal where the elections resulted in a hung verdict.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti has Sangareddy and Siddipet in its kitty and can expect to bag Sadashivapet if it manages the support of the two councillors each of the MIM, Congress and independents.

In the 40-member Dharmavaram Municipality, the Congress, with a strength of 14, needs the support of two CPI(M) councillors as well three independents to equal the TDP's tally of 19, including the vote of its MLA. The rivals are carefully watching the political moves of the three BJP councillors.

Situation dicey

In Guntakal too, the situation is dicey for the ruling party as it could bag only 12 out of 37 wards while the TDP succeeded in wresting 18. The BJP has one ward and the CPI three. There are two independents here.

The ruling Congress is expecting the 10 hung municipalities to go in its favour so that its overall tally reaches 82. But, its plans to contain the TDP's tally to below 10 may go awry if the latter wins the post of chairperson in Dharmavaram, Guntakal and Vizianagaram. In case the BSP insists on the civic chief's post, then the main Opposition will get stuck on what is perceived to be its lucky number - nine.

The CPI(M) is poised to win the Khammam Municipality and the MIM Bhainsa.

The two hung corporations - Karimnagar and Nellore - are likely to go the Congress way following expression of support by the MIM and independents respectively. Polling in 14 divisions of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation will be held on Friday.

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