The ruling YSRCP won all the four Rajya Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh that went to the polls on Friday and the infighting in the Opposition TDP came to the fore, with two MLAs staying away and four making mistakes that left their votes invalid.
With 151 MLAs, the ruling party comfortably won the four seats. The YSRCP had fielded Deputy Chief Minister Pilli Subash Chandra Bose, Fisheries Minister Mopidevi Venkataramana, real estate developer and former founder of Ramky Infrastructure Ayodhya Rami Reddy and Reliance Group vice-president Parimal Nathwani.
The TDP had fielded senior leader and Politburo member Varla Ramaiah. A minimum of 36 votes were needed by each candidate to win. The TDP has 23 MLAs. Two rebel MLAs of the party, Karnam Balaram Krishna Murthy and Vallabhaneni Vamsi, did not turn up for voting. And during the counting, four votes were found invalid. Sources in the AP Legislative Secretariat said that the invalid votes were of TDP MLAs disgruntled with the party leadership. TDP candidate Varla Ramaiah got 17 votes.
“They did not defy the party whip to vote but made mistakes which rendered the votes invalid. Two MLAs wrote on the ballot paper that TDP was indulging in wrong caste politics,” an official said.
Sources said the comments referred to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s Naidu to field a Dalit candidate in Varla Ramaiah, knowing well that he has no chance to win, so that the party can accuse the YSRCP of not nominating a candidate from the SC community.
Lone MLA of Jana Sena, R Vara Prasad, declared his support to the YSRCP. The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has a strength of 175 — 151 MLAs from YSRCP, 23 from TDP and 1 from Jana Sena. The strength of the YSRCP in Rajya Sabha goes up from 2 to 6 after today’s results.
The polling commenced at 9 am with adherence to strict protocols in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. All MLAs were required to wear masks and maintain distancing. When they arrived at the Legislative Complex at Velagapudi in Amaravati, they had to use a hand sanitizer and then undergo screening with an infrared thermometer.