Naidu In A Fix Over Increase Of Assembly Seats
Amaravati: Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is caught in a piquant situation, as he has to accommodate at least 20 sitting MLAs in the next elections. He had promised to accommodate them all while admitting them in the party during 2016, a year of defections.
Though his party leaders objected to the entry of the rival party legislators, Naidu went ahead promising to accommodate everyone with an eye on the possible increase of the Assembly seats from 175 to 225, based on a provision in the AP Reorganization Act 2014. He made several visits to Delhi to get clearance on the proposal. He held series of talks with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to begin the exercise to increase the Assembly seats. He also lobbied hard with the then Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu gave up the special category status demand for which he had moved resolutions in Assembly twice and spoke for hours together. He remained soft on the delay of granting railway zone in the state. He has been silent on the non-starters like steel plant in Kadapa, sea port in Dugarajapatnam. He hasn’t even made a noise on the denial of reimbursing the revenue gap in the first year. But, he has been firm on getting the Assembly seats increased, or else he would be in for a big trouble when the bell rings for the 2019 elections.
As it is for politicians, 2019 is not going to be any major issue even if the Assembly seats are not increased. The BJP is ready to field its candidates for all the Assembly seats. The Jana Sena too is gearing up for all the seats. This would mean that the politicians would have 350 (175 each for BJP & Jana Sena) seats, which were not there in the 2014 elections. The Congress, though has no hopes of winning even the 2019 election in the state, would provide the opportunity for 175 candidates, either from within the party or those who join the party for election purpose. This would mean that the politicians would have 525 vacancies (350 + 175) just to be in the contest.
But, it would be a herculean task for Naidu to accommodate all his 175 candidates who have contested in 2014 elections and the 21 MLAs who have defected in 2016. With over 200 leaders, including the defectors, Naidu would have to face the wrath of the aspirants if he fails to accommodate them.