Hyderabad: The upcoming election to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council will be a major test for the ruling Congress as it will determine the party`s real strength in the 294-member Assembly.
As many as 10 Legislative Council seats are falling vacant on March 29 of which five are held by Congress, three by Telugu Desam Party and one each by CPI and CPM.
Members of the Legislative Assembly will elect 10 new members in the election slated for March 21.
On paper, Congress has 155 members in the Assembly and should comfortably bag five seats but at least eight MLAs have defected to YSR Congress though they "technically" remain Congress members.
One more MLA quit his post protesting the continuation of Kiran Kumar Reddy as Chief Minister but continues to be in the Congress only.
At least 30 first preference votes are required to get a member elected to the Legislative Council and Congress will not have any problem seeing the election of four candidates through.
"Apart from the known defectors, there are some other fence-sitters who could play spoilsport. That not only makes election of the fifth Congress candidate difficult but also expose our majority in the House," a senior minister pointed out.
It would be a loss of face for the ruling party if it fails to win the fifth seat and could well lead to calls from opposition for the government`s resignation.