A Division Bench of the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Union government, the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and the Election Commission of India on a writ petition seeking to implement Section 26 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, that pertains to the number of seats in the legislatures of the successor states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The court, in its order last week, sought a response to the plea.
How many more seats
The petition called for the Assembly seats in Andra Pradesh to be increased from 175 to 225, and in Telangana from 119 seats to 153 constituencies.
The next delimitation exercise – the procedure through which new constituent boundaries are drawn are determined by the census – to redrew constituency boundaries is scheduled to be held in 2026. Article 170 of the Constitution says, “Legislative Assembly of each State shall consist of not more than five hundred, and not less than sixty, members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the State.”
A gradual transformation
* 142 constituencies in Hyderabad state: In 1951, when the Assembly elections were held for the first time in the then state of Hyderabad, the Congress won under Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. The state had 142 Assembly seats at the time.
* 167 constituencies in Andhra state: In the 1955 elections, Bezawada Gopal Reddy of the Congress became the CM.
* 85 constituencies: In 1957’s combined legislative Assembly elections, there were 85 seats as members of the first Assembly (1955–’62) who were elected in 1955 were allowed a seven-year term. Reddy emerged as the winner in the polls.
* 300 constituencies: In the 1962 elections, the first contest with all the constituents, Reddy won again, with the Congress getting 177 of the 300 seats.
* 294 seats: At the time of bifurcation in 2014, there were 294 Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh.