Andhra Pradesh all set for RS polls amid lockdown


Amaravati: The stage is set for polling on Friday to elect four members to the Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh, with the ruling YSR Congress poised to win all four seats given its formidable strength in the State Assembly.

This is the first time that an election is being conducted for the Rajya Sabha seats from the State, post-bifurcation in 2014. The biennial election, originally scheduled for March 26, was put off to June 19 due to the Covid-19 lockdown across the country. Four out of 11 seats in the Upper House of Parliament from AP fell vacant on April 9 as sitting members retired at the end of the six-year term. It would have normally been a unanimous affair but a formal election became inevitable since five candidates four of the ruling YSR Congress and one of the opposition Telugu Desam party remained in fray.

With a strength of 151 in the 175-member AP Assembly and the support of four “rebel” legislators of TDP and Jana Sena, the YSRC is comfortably placed to win all four. Minimum 36 votes are required for a candidate to win the Rajya Sabha seat from AP. The TDP, with just 20 out of 23 MLAs remaining on its side, stands no chance whatsoever.

After Friday’s polling, the YSRC’s strength in Rajya Sabha will rise to six from two at present. From the YSRC, Deputy Chief Minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao, realtor A Ayodhya Rami Reddy and Reliance Industries Senior Group president Parimal Nathwani are in the fray now. The TDP fielded its politburo member Varla Ramaiah, playing the Scheduled Caste card.

Nathwani had been an Independent MP from Jharkhand for the last two consecutive terms and he filed his nomination as the YSRC candidate this time. As the YSRC government decided to abolish the State Legislative Council, the party fielded Bose and Ramana as they have been with Jagan since the inception of the party, according to sources. Both belong to the backward classes.

Polling will be conducted from 9 am to 4 pm on Friday and counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm. The result is expected to be announced within a short time thereon, Legislature sources said. With a majority of them being first-timers, the YSRC conducted a mock poll for its MLAs on Thursday to familiarise them with the procedure involved in the polling.

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