The Union home ministry has taken up a proposal to increase the strength of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana assemblies to meet a long-standing demand of the two southern states.

The number of seats in the AP and Telangana assemblies might go up by 50 and 34, respectively, if the NDA government manages to get Parliament approval for amendments to a constitutional provision and the Representation of People Act. To increase the composition of legislative assembly, the Parliament will have to amend Article 170 of the Constitution.

Under the current provision, such an exercise can be undertaken only after the Census 2021 gets published in 2026, said sources in the ministry. The RP Act too will have to be tweaked to legitimise alteration in the size of the assemblies.

The ministry has rolled out the process and recently sought comments of the Election Commission to identify Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe constituencies in both states which would have to be reserved if the composition of both the legislative assemblies is increased, said ministry sources.

The undivided Andhra Pradesh had 294 assembly constituencies. When Telangana was carved out of it in 2014, these were divided between the two states, with AP getting 175 seats (plus one for a nominated member) and Telangana the remaining 119.

The proposal is to increase the strength of the lower house to AP to 225 and Telangana to 153. The figures were calculated at the time of the state bifurcation and mentioned in Section 26 of the AP Reorganisation Act. According to the Act, “delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission” based on this formula.

The move, however, will not impact the number of Lok Sabha seats in the two states.

Government sources said the revised Census of 2011, which was published in 2013, would now be considered to add to the list of reserved seats in the two states.

AP chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart, K Chandrasekhar Rao, have been insisting for long that the Centre deliver on the promise on increasing the seats in their states.

In the past, they have also taken it up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, since the NDA government has already increased the number of seats in the legislative councils of AP and Telangana.

AP government sources said its finance minister, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, had again raised this issue during the Southern Zonal Council meeting, which was chaired by Rajnath Singh and held on September 18 in Bengaluru. The home ministry informed that the process was on and the matter was with the EC, a senior state official said.

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