HYDERABAD: It has been one month since former Health Minister Eatala Rajender resigned as an MLA from the Huzurabad Assembly segment. Now, all the players, candidates and parties are pulling up their socks for the Huzurabad bypoll.
But the umpire, i.e., the Election Commission of India (ECI), has still not made up its mind and the players are facing a dilemma of whether the ECI will conduct a bypoll within six months.
The Huzurabad bypoll is linked to the bypolls in West Bengal. Grapevine has it that the ECI may delay conducting bypolls to six Assembly seats in West Bengal, including Bhabanipur in South Kolkata from where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to contest.
Mamata has to be elected from any Assembly seat before November 5 to continue as the Chief Minister. There is no Legislative Council in West Bengal and the only option before her is to contest in the Assembly bypolls.
If they are not held in West Bengal for any reason, Mamata, who lost the Assembly election from Nandigram, wouldn’t be able to continue as the CM, just six months taking over the reins.
A delegation of Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party (TCPP), comprising six MPs, met the ECI in Delhi on Thursday, with a request that the bypolls to six vacant Assembly seats in West Bengal be held at the earliest.
According to Section 151(A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the byelection has to be conducted within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. However, the ECI need not conduct the bypoll if the Central government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bypoll.
If the ECI delays the bypolls in West Bengal, it will take the same stand with regard to Huzurabad bypoll. The sources in both the BJP and the TRS are admitting that if the bypoll to Huzurabad was conducted immediately, it would benefit the BJP. If it is delayed, it would turn into an advantageous situation for the ruling TRS. The Huzurabad Assembly vacancy was notified on June 12, on the same day Rajender submitted his resignation.
According to sources, a BJP delegation consisting of Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy, BJP State president Bandi Sanjay and Rajender, which met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday, wanted Huzurabad bypoll to be held at the earliest.
The BJP leaders reportedly told Shah that Rajender had sympathy among voters and if the bypoll was conducted immediately, BJP would emerge victorious.
If the bypoll was delayed, then the TRS would make all out efforts to turn the situation in its favour. TRS sources too are admitting that the delay of bypoll would help them to fill the vacuum created by Rajender’s exist from the TRS.