Amaravati, March 23 (IANS) Members of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly were casting their votes on Thursday in the elections for seven seats of Legislative Council.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was among the first to cast his vote in the polling centre at the Assembly premises. Several ministers and members of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) cast their votes in the first couple of hours.
Eight candidates are in fray for the seven seats to the Upper House of the state legislature. Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has fielded one candidate, necessitating the polling.
While the ruling party is confident of a clean sweep, the TDP is hoping to win a seat.
A candidate needs 22 votes to win the election. In the 175-member Assembly, YSRCP has 151 seats and it is confident of securing votes of four rebel MLAs of TDP and the lone MLA of Jana Sena Party (JSP).
TDP, which had 23 seats in the Assembly, is left with 19 members as four others have turned rebels. However, the opposition party is hopeful of bagging votes of two rebel MLAs of the ruling party. Even if both the rebels of YSRCP sail with TDP, the opposition party will still need one more vote.
TDP, which dealt a blow to the YSRCP by winning three graduates' constituencies in the recently held Council elections, expects that a couple of MLAs from YSRCP will defy the party whip to back its candidate.
When the voting began on Thursday morning, TDP leader Nimmala Kistappa claimed that 16 MLAs of YSRCP are in touch with them. The ruling party, however, dismissed the claim as a mind game being played by the opposition.
For seven seats from MLA quota, the ruling party has fielded V.V. Surya Narayana Raju, Pothula Sunitha, Kola Guruvulu, Bommi Israel, Jayamangala Venkataramna, Chandragiri Yesuratnam and Marri Rajasekhar. TDP has field P. Anuradha.
Both YSRCP and TDP have issued whips to their MLAs directing them to vote for their respective party candidates.
The polling began at 9 a.m. and will continue till 4 p.m. The counting of votes will be taken up from 5 p.m.
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