HYDERABAD: In a significant setback for the ruling TRS in the keenly contested Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election, the BJP has emerged as the second-largest party, winning 48 seats -- 12 times the seats it had won in the previous election in 2016 when it got only four.
The victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come close on the heels of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) suffering a drubbing in its hands in the by-election to the rural Assembly constituency of Dubbaka in erstwhile Medak district a few weeks ago.
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The victory in the GHMC election signifies two aspects: first, the political space hitherto occupied by the Congress or the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is going the BJP’s way, and second, the victories in Dubbaka and Hyderabad for the BJP may likely see many more leaders from other parties beginning to look at the saffron party with renewed interest.
It is a shocker for the TRS to lose one-third of the seats it had won in the 2016 election. However, with 31 ex-officio members in its kitty, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts may go towards the ruling party. If it still falls short of seats, its ally AIMIM might chip in with the requisite numbers.
The State Election Commission (SEC) announced the results of only 149 seats, after withholding the outcome of Neredmet. At the end of the day, TRS working president KT Rama Rao said: “The results are not what we had expected. We had hoped to get at least 20 to 25 seats more. In many divisions we have lost very narrowly.”
The MIM, for its part, has retained almost all its seats. Taking moral responsibility, TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy has resigned. Ever since counting began at 8 am, the winning streak of the BJP went on unabated. It has upset the TRS and MIM nominees in their strongholds of Gudimalkapur, Mangalhat, Gunfoundry, Saroornagar, Hayathnagar and Vanasthalipuram.
Though MAUD Minister Rama Rao led the charge and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao scripted strategies for the TRS leaders to take on the BJP, the saffron party managed to turn the tables against the pink party.
The BJP did not win the election but it has effectively prevented the TRS from securing a majority, leading to a hung house. With its Hindutva plank, it played on the raw emotions of the people and seemed to have managed in polarising the Hindu vote by raking up the era of the Nizam’s rule time and again. The BJP top leadership, including Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda, went around Hyderabad, appealing to the religious sentiments of the Hindus.
The high-octane campaign by State party chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar, which went on to the level of ordering surgical strikes in the Old City where the Muslim population is quite dense, seems to have brightened the BJP’s fortunes. This is despite Rama Rao and TRS leaders countering it with a promise of a Hyderabad which is free from communal strife and one that looks to investments for generating employment.
The BJP has managed to cut the TRS down to size even though the latter, by virtue of being the ruling party in Telangana, had advanced the GHMC election, giving just 15 days to the BJP and others to prepare for the polls. The TRS, it is alleged, had advanced the polls after its defeat in Dubbaka, to prevent the Opposition from gaining in strength. But the BJP has overcome the impediment in several divisions.
The saffron party has come a long way since the Assembly elections in 2018, when it won only one seat, with a vote share of a mere 7.1 per cent. It has improved its percentage significantly to 19.5 in the 2019 Parliamentary elections and picked up four Lok Sabha seats. Though it had suffered a setback when it lost even its security deposit in by-election to Huzurnagar in erstwhile Nalgonda district, it came up trumps in Dubbaka and now in the GHMC.
According to pollsters, the verdict has made it clear that there was an anti-incumbency wave but it was not to the extent of demolishing the ruling party altogether. It only caused as much discomfiture as possible for it to come to senses, which is why it had managed to stay ahead of the BJP. As the saffron party showed promise, some sections who were unhappy with the TRS and Congress, switched their loyalty to the BJP.
Results not as expected: KTR
TRS working president and MAUD Minister KT Rama Rao said the GHMC results were not on expected lines. Speaking to reporters at Telangana Bhavan on Friday, he thanked the voters as the TRS emerged as the single largest party in the poll. He also thanked the party workers and leaders for working towards its victory. The TRS had expected 20-25 more divisions in addition to the 56 that it won. “TRS candidates lost in 10-15 divisions such as BN Reddy Nagar, Moulali, Adikmet and others, with 100-200 votes majority,” he said. Asked about the Mayoral election, he said there are two more months for it. “We have a lot of time. We will discuss within the party and take a decision,” he said.
TRS fails to cross halfway mark
According to the grapevine, the TRS may join hands with the MIM, which has bagged 44 divisions and also has 10 ex-officio members. The pink party has failed to meet the halfway mark. Earlier, the MIM and Congress had shared the Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts on rotation basis
BJP cuts TRS down to size in election
The BJP has managed to cut the TRS down to size even though the latter, by virtue of being the ruling party in Telangana, had advanced the GHMC election, giving just 15 days to the BJP and others to prepare for the polls.