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Vote in Andhra for two states

Hyderabad, March 5: Andhra Pradesh will vote as an undivided state to create two new ones.

In April and May, voters will troop to booths one last time as residents of a united Andhra to elect a new government at the Centre and two Assemblies — one for Telangana, the would-be state waiting to assume a separate identity, and one for the residuary Andhra.

But both would have to wait till June 2, the appointed day the 10 districts of Telangana will part ways with Seemandhra, the coastal belt and Rayalaseema that make up the rest of Andhra. Born along with the redrawn map will be a new secretariat and a new treasury.

The 10 Telangana districts vote on April 30 for 119 Assembly and 17 parliamentary seats. Seemandhra will vote on May 7 for 175 Assembly and 25 parliamentary seats. “Whoever is elected MLA (state legislator) as per law will automatically become member of the state concerned,” chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath said.

Undivided Andhra has 42 parliamentary seats and 294 Assembly constituencies.

The results, along with the rest of the country, will be declared on May 16, but the two states — the new and the residual Andhra — will get their chief ministers only after June 2.

The plan to bifurcate Andhra got Parliament’s sanction last month, after decades of protests that claimed some 1,500 lives, including 45 killed by police bullets in the 1969 agitation.

If the sanction was a closure for some, one man may have to take stock afresh after the announcement of the poll schedule today. Kiran Kumar Reddy had resigned from the Congress and stepped down as chief minister and an MLA on February 19 to launch a political front to pursue his struggle for a united Andhra.

With the model code of conduct in force, his outfit will have to wait till after the elections to get recognition. “Now any new party will not get recognition. They have to contest as Independents,” election commissioner H.S. Brahma said.

Andhra’s chief electoral officer Banwar Lal said 76 lakh new voters had registered since last year, taking the total number to 6.24 crore.

In all, 457 companies of paramilitary forces will be needed for conducting the elections. Lal will hold a videoconference with district collectors and police superintendents tomorrow.