Number of elections lined up in Andhra in 2012

Very soon, by-elections should be held for seven Assembly seats that fell vacant in Nov last, following the resignation of MLAs on different issues.

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh will witness a series of elections in 2012, out of which, some of them are certain to happen, while some others are still `likely`, as
things stand now.

Very soon, by-elections should be held for seven Assembly seats that fell vacant in November last, following the resignation of MLAs on different issues. Of the total
seven, six seats are in Telangana region and the other in coastal Andhra.

However, by-elections will also become inevitable to 17 other seats -- one in Telangana and the rest in Andhra-Rayalaseema regions -- if as many MLAs, belonging to the ruling Congress and (one of) the erstwhile Praja Rajyam
Party (PRP), get disqualified for voting against the government in the Assembly in December last.

The disqualification petitions are expected to be disposed of in the next few days ahead of the ensuing budget session of the Legislature.

Also, three Congress members of the Legislative
Council are facing disqualification for going against the
party and by-elections should be held for these seats as well,
in the event of their disqualification.

Soon after the by-elections, biennial elections to six
Rajya Sabha seats from the state are due in April.

The outcome of the by-elections to the Assembly seats
will determine whether or not the Congress government dares to
go for the long overdue elections to urban local bodies as
well as rural local bodies. But, the government will be left
with no option except to conduct the local bodies` elections
to avert any constitutional crisis.

Immediately thereafter, elections to co-operative
institutions, which are also overdue, need to be held.

But, all eyes are focused primarily on the
by-elections -- being dubbed as the `mini general elections`
-- for the Assembly seats, as the stakes are very high for the
four main parties.

The fate of the Kiran Kumar Reddy government hinges on
the outcome of the by-polls as, on its own, it has now been
reduced to a minority in the 294-member House.

The government is continuing in office thanks only to
the 17-member PRP (which is still a separate entity in the
Assembly) and the 7-member Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.

The principal opposition -- Telugu Desam Party (TDP)
desperately needs to win at least a few seats to prove that it
is still a force to reckon with.

For the YSR Congress (YSRC) party, which pulled 16
MLAs from Congress and one each from TDP and PRP to its side,
the by-polls will be a test of its ability to emerge as a
potent alternative force in the state politics.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) needs to do well to
showcase that the so-called `Telangana sentiment` is still
strong and the demand for a separate state cannot be ignored.

Of course, whatever it wins in the by-election, will be a
`bonus` for the TRS, as all these seats were hitherto held by
Congress and TDP (and one by an independent, whose death
caused the by-poll in Mahbubnagar).

Barring Nagarkurnool in Mahbubnagar district, the TRS
will contest from the other six constituencies in Telangana,
while the YSR Congress has decided not to field its candidates
in the region except in Parakal in Warangal district.

As things stand, the Congress and the TDP don`t seem
to have even an outside chance of winning at least one seat in
Telangana as the two parties are being branded as `betrayers`
of the statehood cause.

There is widespread talk about a `tacit understanding`
between TRS and YSRC in Telangana and this may work to the
latter`s advantage in Parakal.

The current trends from Andhra-Rayalaseema regions
indicate that the wind is blowing strongly in favour of YSRC
president and Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, though, in three
or four constituencies, there is said to be some antagonism
towards the incumbent MLAs.

In those constituencies, Jagan is reportedly opting to
field alternative candidates to avert possible defeat.

Having probably got a wind of what`s in store for
them, the Congress leaders, including Chief Minister Kiran and
PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana are seeking to project the
by-elections as "any other by-elections" and not a
"referendum" on the government.

This, clearly, is only seen as a face-saving attempt
in the face of the grave adversity.