Threat of Cross Voting looms large, MLC Elections

Hyderabad: The threat of cross voting appears to be looming large around the Congress party’s candidate Gudur Narayana Reddy, who has filed his nomination papers for MLC seat under MLA quota on Thursday.
Narayana Reddy is exuding confidence that he would win the seat easily as the party has adequate strength. The party requires the support of 21 MLAs to win the seat. However, it is relying upon the support of two MLAs of grand alliance partner, TDP. While one of the two TDP MLAs Nageswara Rao, who has won from Aswaraopeta assembly segment, is likely to vote for the Congress party candidate, the other TDP MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, who has won from Sattupally assembly segment, appears to be vary of voting for the Congress party candidate.

According to sources, Veeraiah is maintaining equal distance from both Congress and his own TDP ever since he won from the seat for a third consecutive term. It was widely reported that he would cross the fence and join rival TRS party days after the assembly elections. It was also widely reported that he would be made a state cabinet minister in Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao cabinet. Following these speculations, Veeraiah even held a meeting of his supporters and followers to discuss on the issue of joining the ruling TRS party and take their feedback on the issue. However, his dream to become the state cabinet minister did not materialise during the recent cabinet expansion.

On the other hand, the Congress party is also doubtful about the support of its own MLAs. Senior party leaders are saying that some of the party MLAs like former home minister Sabita Indra Reddy, Vanama Venkateswar Rao, Jagga Reddy are giving indications that they might cross the fence. Although, all these leaders have maintained that they would remain with the Congress party at any cost, the party has grown apprehensive about them.

The election for the five MLC seats has been necessitated following the decision of ruling TRS party to contest all the five MLC seats under the MLA quota. While the ruling party has kept four seats for itself, it left the fifth seat for its ally MIM party. While the ruling party has the support of 90 MLAs, its number in the house goes up to 97 after the addition of the seven MLAs of MIM party. Each MLC require 21 first priority votes to win the seat. This means that the ruling TRS and MIM fall short of four MLA votes to win the fifth MLC seat.

All eyes are also on the lone MLA of BJP Raja Singh. The BJP has not yet decided on the issue of taking part in the elections or not. However, it is highly unlikely that the BJP legislator will extend his support to either ruling TRS or the Congress parties. The election for the MLCs is scheduled to be held on March 12, 2019.