Municipal elections are currently underway across Andhra Pradesh with a triangular contest between the ruling YSRCP, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 12 Municipal corporations, including Greater Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Vijayawada, and 71 Municipalities and Nagar Panchayats. The counting of votes will take place on March 14.

YSRCP is contesting the municipal polls on the back of its victory in the recently concluded panchayat elections where it bagged more than 80% seats, pushing the TDP to a distant second. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party even managed to make significant inroads into TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu’s bastion Kuppam assembly constituency.

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The YSRCP has already secured an edge in the civic polls, grabbing 578 wards where its candidates were chosen unanimously on March 5. The state Election Commissioner’s announcement didn’t go down well with the TDP and BJP which accused Reddy of instigating political violence against their candidates, forcing them to withdraw from the elections.

The stakes are also high for the BJP which is trying to establish itself as the main alternative to Jagan’s YSRCP ahead of the assembly elections in 2024. The saffron party has joined hands with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party, fielding candidates in 63 wards(BJP 22 and JSP 41) in total.

The surprise entrant in this election is Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majilis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) which is testing its electoral fortune in Andhra Pradesh for the first time since bifurcation in 2014. AIMIM has fielded candidates in 47 wards including Kurnool, Guntakal, Nandyal, Hindupur and Anantapur where there is sizeable Muslim population.

Quick facts you need to know:

– Elections being held for 71 municipalities and nagar panchayats and 12 municipal corporations with 78.71 lakh eligible voters.

– Polling is currently underway in Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts, Guntur, YSR Kadapa, Kurnool, Ananthapur, Vizianagaram, Krishna districts.

– The 12 municipal corporations going to polls include Greater Vizag, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Guntur, Ongole, Chittoor, Tirupati, Kadapa, Kurnool and Anantapur.

– According to the data published by the State Election Commission, nearly half the total candidates have Class 10 or below Class 10 educational qualification. There are 60 graduates and 31 post graduates in the electoral fray.

– Polling will go on till 5 PM on March 10 and counting of votes will take place on March 14.

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