VIJAYAWADA : For the first time since its inception, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) may not have presence in the Rajya Sabha after the tenure of its lone MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar ends in April. The Election Commission of India on Monday announced that Rajya Sabha elections for three seats in Andhra Pradesh will be conducted on February 27.
While the TDP has a strength of just 22 MLAs in the Assembly, it will require 44 votes to win the Rajya Sabha seat. Although winning even a single Rajya Sabha seat for the TDP looks like a tough task, the party leadership appears to be banking on the support of YSRC MLAs, who are unhappy with the ruling party for either dropping them or shifting them to other constituencies ahead of the Assembly elections.
Despite tenures of several members expiring and elections to these Rajya Sabha seats being held on several occasions in the past five years, the TDP refrained from contesting the polls, resulting in the candidates nominated by the ruling YSRC winning unanimously.
When four seats in the upper house of the Parliament fell vacant in 2020, the TDP had nominated politburo member Varla Ramaiah and issued a whip to four of its MLAs who had switched their loyalties to the YSRC. The party is likely to nominate Varla again.
Currently, the State Legislative Assembly has a strength of 174. With the Speaker accepting the resignation of TDP MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao, the TDP’s count is down to 22.
The ruling YSRC has 151 seats as well as the support of the lone Jana Sena Party (JSP) MLA.
TDP likely to field candidate for RS election
While four TDP MLAs have switched loyalties to the YSRC, as many ruling party MLAs have extended support to the Opposition party.
Sources in the TDP said the party is likely to field its nominee for one of the Rajya Sabha seats and will work out strategies to ensure the candidate wins. On the other hand, a politburo member of the TDP told TNIE that no discussions have so far been held within the party regarding the Rajya Sabha elections. On the timing of Speaker Tammineni Sitaram accepting the resignation of TDP MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao, three years after he had submitted it, and the summoning of rebel MLAs although disqualification petitions were lodged a long back ago, the TDP leader said these developments indicate that the YSRC is afraid the yellow party may field its candidate and make solid attempts to win the seat.