An election to fill five vacancies in the Telangana legislative council will be held today with an easy win expected for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti and ally Asaduddin Owaisi's party. In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh there will be no elections as only five candidates have filed their nominations for the five vacancies.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS has fielded four of its own candidates -- Home Minister Mohd Mehmood Ali, Seri Subhash Reddy, Satyavati Rathod and Yegge Mallesam -- leaving one seat to its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen or AIMIM. The nominee of the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party is Mirza Riyaz ul Hasan Effendi.
The main opposition Congress has nominated one candidate, Gudur Narayana Reddy.
The ruling bloc is expected to sweep all the five seats as four opposition legislators recently announced their decision to switch sides.
The strength of TRS in the 120-member House is 88. An independent legislator and an All India Forward Bloc legislator had earlier declared their support to TRS, taking its effective strength to 90. The AIMIM too has seven MLAs.
One of two TDP lawmakers elected in December also switched sides. Sandra Venkat Veeraiah, a three-time legislator from Sathupalli in Khammam district, was an accused in the cash-for-vote scam and was arrested in 2015.
The main opposition Congress, that had 19 MLAs, suffered a major setback as three of its legislators had recently announced their decision to join the TRS.
The move dealt a blow to the chances of the Congress nominee in the Council election.
BJP is represented by one MLA in the assembly.
The switchover of the Congress legislators triggered a bitter war of words between Congress and ruling TRS.
The Congress had alleged that the TRS had "purchased"' the MLAs, while TRS working president KT Rama Rao referred to some public representatives joining the Congress and asked if that was also a ''purchase''.
(With inputs from PTI)