| Hyderabad |
Updated: December 5, 2020 6:23:06 am
Marking a stunning performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, the BJP on Friday emerged as the second-largest party, dislodging the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) from half the seats it had held. While the BJP tally went up from four in 2016 to 48, the TRS numbers went down from 99 to 55.
With only one result in the 150-member GHMC still pending following the order for a recount, the TRS will finish well short of the mark of at least 65 seats to get the mayor’s post.
While the AIMIM retained its tally of 44 seats, while contesting 51 seats instead of 60 last time, the blow of ending up behind the BJP will hurt. The GHMC polls were a prestige battle for AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on his home turf, and the BJP that ran a high-pitch campaign rolling out its big guns had principally targeted it. Among the 48 seats won by the BJP, six were in the Muslim-dominated Charminar division.
The Congress’s tally stood at two, the same as in 2016.
BJP leaders said the party’s performance “made it ambiguously clear that it is emerging as the alternative force” in Telangana, which they said was their agenda for this election. The party sees Telangana as one of the states where it has the most chance after Karnataka. BJP president J P Nadda and senior leader and Home Minister Amit Shah said the results also showed “unequivocal support towards PM Modi’s development and governance model”.
The BJP won in areas dominated by software engineers, intra-state migrants, and people who moved out of the congested Old City of Hyderabad to newer areas of the city on the outskirts. The party appears to have made substantial gains among socially and economically backward communities as well. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had demonstrated its presence in the state, winning four of the 17 seats with almost 20% vote share.
BJP Telangana chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar said, “The BJP’s win in the November 10 Dubbaka by-election was the defeat of T Harish Rao, the nephew of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. The GHMC polls have dealt a bigger defeat to K T Rama Rao, the son of the CM (he led the TRS campaign).”
Kumar added that the party was now poised to wrest power in Telangana, with the TRS having “failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people”. “KCR and the TRS cannot take anything for granted now,” he said.
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, who was sent to supervise the party’s electioneering in Hyderabad straight from its Bihar success, said, “It’s moral victory over dynasty politics and politics of corruption.” He said establishing itself in Hyderabad, with its preeminent space in the digital industry, was crucial for the party as it showed “both its expansion and its acceptance”.
Former state BJP chief K Laxman said the party would have won even more seats but for the TRS “understanding” with the AIMIM.
With the BJP making its claims of a secret pact between the TRS and AIMIM the mainstay of its poll campaign, the TRS also faces the unenviable prospect of depending on Owaisi’s party to retain control of the GHMC. KCR’s son K T Rama Rao, also the Municipal Administration Minister, said, “We lost several seats by a margin of very few votes, 100 or even just 70.”
Following another dismal performance by the Congress, its PCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy submitted his resignation. Congress MP from Malkajgiri A Revanth Reddy is likely to be appointed the new state chief.
The results took time as ballot papers were used in the GHMC elections instead of EVMs due to Covid-19 protocols.
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