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Flurry of activity in Hyderabad a day before counting

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

A flurry of activity was witnessed here on Monday, a day ahead of the counting of votes for the assembly elections, with the BJP hinting at supporting K Chandrasekhar Rao's TRS in forming the government if it fell short of a majority and AIMIM pledging support.

The Congress-led 4-party People's Front, meanwhile met Governor ESL Narasimhan and requested that the alliance be treated as a "single entity" in the event of a hung assembly.

Though most exit polls have forecast an easy win for the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, some predicted a keen contest between it and the Congress-led "Praja Katumi", which also comprises the TDP, CPI and the newly formed Telangaja Jana Samithi.

Counting of votes will be taken up on Tuesday morning to decide the fate of 1,821 candidates trying their luck for 119 assembly seats.

BJP national spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao noted that most exit polls have predicted that the TRS would retain power and they were likely to be on the mark.

When asked about options before the BJP, a marginal player in Telangana, in case of a hung assembly, Rao said it was difficult to comment as one does not know as of now what whould be the shortfall for the TRS.

"The BJP will have nothing to do with the Congress or the AIMIM (led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi)," Rao told PTI, indicating that the BJP was not be averse to doing business with the TRS to keep the Congress away from power.

"....BJP certainly wants a stable government, and in case of a hung assembly, we will see who seeks our support. Our support will certainly be not available for the Congress or the AIMIM," Rao added.

The BJP had won just five seats in the 2014 assembly polls that were held in undivided Andhra Pradesh. It had contested the poll in alliance with N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party.

The TDP walked out of the BJP-led NDA a few months ago over the Centre's refusal to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Rao, however, noted that since the party contested the elections against both the TRS and the People's Front, it would be happy to be in the opposition.

The AIMIM, which Chandrasekhar Rao called a "friendly party" during the election campaign, meanwhile, said it will stand by the TRS leader.

"I will be meeting Telangana's caretaker & next CM of Telangana, KCR sahab @TelanganaCMO at 1:30 PM today. Inshallah he will form government on his own strength, and Majlis will stand by him. This is our first step towards a larger goal of nation building," Owaisi tweeted.

Owaisi later rode a motorcycle to 'Pragati Bhavan', the camp office-cum-residence of Rao, and was with him for about three hours.

"On behalf of my party I met caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. I am pretty sure and confident and KCR 'saab' is (also) confident that people of Telangana would once again bless KCR to the chief minister's post. He will form a new government on his own strength," he told reporters.

AIMIM contested eight seats in the December 7 assembly elections as against the seven in the 2014 polls, and supported the TRS elsewhere.

When asked if AIMIM would back out if the BJP went with TRS, Owaisi, who also addressed campaign rallies in support of TRS candidates, said,"Such a scenario would not be there. BJP, which had five seats....would will see tomorrow by noon."

Meanwhile, a People's Front delegation called on the governor and sought to be treated as a single entity should the electorate give a fractured mandate.

"In the event of a situation of the governor having to invite the single largest entity to form the government arises, we said, this is our pre-poll alliance and these are the papers and documents. We submitted them to the governor," state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy told reporters.

Flanked by leaders of other Front constituents, Reddy said the delegation told Narasimhan about the "sanctity and constitutional validity" of a pre-poll alliance.

Amid fears of horse-trading in the event of a hung assembly, the Congress leader said adequate security should be provided to the winning candidates.

As the official machinery geared itself up for counting, the state's chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar said necessary arrangements have been made for the counting of votes.

He said central paramilitary forces were providing the first cordon of security at the strongrooms where electronic voting machines are kept.

The counting will begin at 8 in the morning.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 10 2018. 18:25 IST