Polling underway for six seats of Telangana council

Hyderabad, June 1 (IANS) Members of the Telangana legislative assembly voted on Monday to elect six members to the state legislative council. Speaker S. Madhusudana Chary was among the first to exercise his franchise.

The polling began at 9 a.m. and 70 members cast their ballot in the first two hours, officials said.

The polling will continue till 4 p.m and the counting of votes will be taken up at 5 p.m. on Monday.

The election was marred by the dramatic arrest of opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) member of assembly A. Revanth Reddy on Sunday night for allegedly bribing a nominated MLA to make him vote for a TDP-BJP candidate.

Revanth Reddy, who was sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a magistrate on Monday morning, was allowed to cast his vote in accordance with the magistrate’s orders. Police brought him amid tight security to the assembly building for voting, before shifting him to Cherlapally Jail.

There are seven candidates in fray – five from the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and one each from the Congress and the TDP-BJP alliance.

In the 120-member assembly, the TRS has sufficient numbers to win four seats but it is confident of winning a fifth seat too with the support of defectors from the opposition parties and also the backing of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and YSR Congress party.

With 17 members and support of an associate MLA, the main opposition Congress party is sure of winning one seat. For the last two days, the party kept all its legislators at a resort on the city outskirts to prevent them from being lured away by the TRS.

The CPI and the CPI-M, which have a member each, have decided to boycott the election. This has left each candidate to poll 16.86 first preference votes for an outright victory.

The TRS, which won 63 seats in last year’s election, increased its strength to 76 with 13 members from opposition parties defecting to it. With a nominated MLA from the Anglo-Indian community, the TRS tally has reached 77. It also has support of seven members of MIM and one member of the YSR Congress.

With just 15 members, TDP-BJP is not in a position to win any seat. The TRS is going all out to deny a win to its bitter rival TDP. Only two days before the polling, TDP MLA Krishna Rao joined the TRS. He was the fifth TDP MLA to defect during last one year.

The TRS has also lured four members of the Congress, two each of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the YSR Congress during last one year.

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