HYDERABAD: By-elections in 18 Assembly constituencies in the state and for one Lok Sabha seat (Nellore) are likely to be held in June.
Chief Election Commissioner YV Qureshi told newsmen in New Delhi that the bypolls would be held before the Presidential election in August and the likely time is be June.
Earlier, there was some ambiguity over the timing of the byelections. State chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal had said that holding elections within six months of the seats falling vacant was mandatory and therefore the bypolls would have to be held before the Presidential elections in August.
With Qureshi giving more clarity on the issue, political parties now would have to make the most of the time available. Bhanwarlal, who is in Vijayawada, said he was ready to hold the bypolls whenever the Election Commission notifies them.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana and deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha are expected to begin poll preparations on Saturday.
An elaborate programme has been chalked out at the chief minister’s camp office from 11 am, where the who is who of the Congress party in the state would be around. They will include MPs, ministers, MLAs, MLCs, PCC representatives, leaders of the Assembly segments going for polls and so on. AICC observer KB Krishna Murthy is expected to take part in the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting, according to sources, will be to identify the grey areas in the party in each segment and make a sincere effort to address the problems in the constituency.
The leaders will also keep in mind the winnability of the candidates who are coming forward to contest in the byelections. As the seats are vacated by the Congress MLAs who are now with Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Congress has an unenviable task of identifying potential candidates who could face them. “So far, candidates have not yet been finalised. Tomorrow’s exercise will also focus on identifying candidates who can meet the onslaught from Jagan Mohan Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu,” one leader said.
In fact, the three leaders began campaigning even before they went to Delhi for counselling by the party high command. The chief minister visited Tirupati recently, which was vacated by Chiranjeevi and where there is a byelection now, and announced a number of freebies for the people there.
Botcha Satyanarayana has been more aggressive. From Delhi, he took a flight to Visakhapatnam directly on Thursday. He addressed a public meeting at Narasannapet, fell vacant by the disqualification of sitting MLA Dharmana Krishna Das. He is expected in Hyderabad on Saturday morning.
Satyanarayana has already visited a couple of constituencies where by-elections are due. He conducted a road show at Polavaram and Narasapuram and addressed public meetings there. “Botcha is keen on visiting districts where byelections are round the corner to drum up support for the party and enliven the workers,” a Botcha aide said.