Ahead of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Congress and YSR Congress appear to have been facing a tough task in Seemandhra and Telangana if the number of candidates fielded by them for the local bodies and panchayat polls are anything to go by.
Elections to urban local bodies — the Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies —— are slated for April 6 and 8. Polling for these local bodies is expected to hold a mirror to the upcoming Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections which are slated for April 30 (in the Telangana districts) and May 7 (in Seemandhra).
Congress is facing strong antagonism in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions in the wake of the state’s bifurcation. YSR Congress seems to have lost its moorings in Telangana after having taken a pro-united Andhra Pradesh (AP) stance.
Nominations for the two elections — the Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTC) and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTC) — indicate that Congress seems to have lost ground in the coastal AP and Rayalaseema while YSR Congress appears to have taken a back seat in Telangana.
Out of a total of 2,591 civic wards in 119 municipalities across 13 districts in Seemaandhra region, Congress fielded candidates in 1,132 wards i.e. in less than half the total wards. Similarly, out of the 363 civic divisions across seven municipal corporations going to polls in Seemandhra, the party is in the race for 173 divisions.
In Seemandhra, the party for the Chittoor Municipal Corporation has not been able to field a single candidate for any of the 50 civic divisions. In Kadapa Municipal Corporation, it has put just eight and in Eluru only 11 out of the 50 divisions each. There is, however, some relief as it has entered all 50 civic divisions in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation along with 54 in the Nellore Municipality.
As far as YSR Congress is concerned, of the 1,399 municipal wards in nine Telangana districts, it has entered the contest in only 187 seats. Out of 150 civic divisions in three municipalities, it is in the race in only 16. The party has put up one candidate each for the ULB election for the Karimnagar and Ramagundam municipalities.
The Telugu Desam Party, too, appears to be affected. It has fielded candidates in 74 out of 150 civic divisions in three municipal corporations.
It is fighting 923 seats out of a total of 1,399 municipal wards in Telangana.
Although officially there is no pact yet between TDP and BJP, the two parties are said to be supporting each other in the ULB elections in Telangana.
The prospects seem bleak for these parties in ZPTC polls. In Seemandhra, Congress is not contesting all 653 ZPTC seats and has put up 546 nominees.
In West Godavari, Congress has fielded candidates for only 18 of the 46 ZPTC seats in the district while in Prakasam district, it does not have candidates for more than half of the 56 seats. In Kadapa, Congress is fighting on less than a third of the 50 seats there.
YSR Congress, on the other hand, is practically out of contention for the Zilla Parishad elections in Telangana.
It has fielded only one candidate in Adilabad district for 52 ZPTC seats.
Only in Khammam and Nalgonda districts, has the party put up candidates in full numbers.