HYDERABAD: With as many as four of its MLAs defecting to Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Congress, the main Opposition party in the State, has decided to boycott the biennial elections to the Legislative Council scheduled for Tuesday. This news, unsurprisingly, does not bode well for Gudur Narayana Reddy, Congress’ lone candidate in the polls. It also guarantees a cakewalk for the five candidates being fielded by the TRS-MIM combine. This is perhaps the first time in the recent past that an Opposition party is boycotting such crucial elections.
TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy announced this decision on Monday. Shocked by ‘Operation Akarsh’ - the unofficial name of TRS’ attempts at getting Opposition MLAs to defect - Congress even issued a whip its remaining MLAs to not participate in the polling process. A whip is a written instruction by a party requesting its members to vote, or not vote, in a certain way.
“The Indian National Congress Party has decided to boycott the biennial elections for the Telangana Legislative Council. You are hereby directed to abstain from the elections and not vote,” CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikaramarka told his MLAs.
However, a whip is applicable to voting conducted inside the House.
It is not applicable in cases of secret voting and when the election is being conducted outside the House. Also, it remains to be seen whether the four Congress MLAs who defected to TRS would even caste their votes on Tuesday. Speaking to The New Indian Express, a TRS MLC candidate said, “I believe Congress made a mistake by fielding a candidate. Whether they participate in the voting or not, TRS and MIM candidates will win all five seats.”