In the 150-seat Hyderabad body, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks to be winning about 50 seats. BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav today termed the party’s performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election as a moral victory, saying it has emerged as the only alternative to the TRS in Telangana. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is pleasantly surprised.
It is the party that could win only four seats in the last election of 2016. In just four years, the BJP improved its performance 10 times. It has become the second-largest party after the ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) while the party ruling the state seems to be shrinking from its last score of 99 seats to about 55 to 60 seats.
There has been no change in the status of Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM). It had 44 seats the last time and it will have to draw solace from the fact that its tally remains the same.
In the 2009 Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election, the Indian National Congress (INC) had got 52 seats, the TDP 45, AIMIM 43 and BJP 5 seats. The INC came down from 52 to 2 in 2016 and it appears shrinking to the same pathetic score.
The ruling TRS had fielded candidates on all 150 wards of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation whereas the BJP had candidates for 149 wards, the INC for 146 wards, the TDP for 106, MIM for 51, CPI for 17, CPM for 12 and other parties for 76 wards.
The INC is shrinking in a similar manner throughout Telangana. In the 2018 assembly election in Telangana, the TRS had won 88 seats in the state while the INC had to settle for just 21 seats. The AIMIM had 7, others two and the BJP two as well.
In the assembly election, the BJP got 7.07% votes in the state while the TRS got more than 47% while the INC got more than 32%. Clearly, in this civic poll, the BJP tried to emerge as an alternative to the INC in Telangana and has achieved its first major success in this direction.
This is the reason why the BJP general secretary is beaming. “BJP has emerged as the only alternative to the ruling TRS in the state and its main rival,” Yadav said. He said that the party’s performance showed that the people had given their mandate against the politics of dynasty and against the corruption of the TRS.
The BJP had appointed one of its chief election managers, Bhupendra Yadav, and threw all its weight behind him. Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath joined the campaign.
The Telangana assembly has 24 seats while Hyderabad has 5 Lok Sabha seats in the Hyderabad region. After Karnataka, the BJP has breached another fort down south. This region with a population of 82 lakh is part of the saffron party’s future strategy in Telangana.
Currently, the BJP has just two seats in Telangana’s 119-seat strong assembly while it has four MPs out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
In the 2016 GHMC election, the TRS had got 43.85% of the votes. AIMIM received 15.85% of the votes. The TDP got 13.11% votes in this election. The BJP got 10.34% of the votes in the GHMC election.
The BJP is looking at this election also as a semi-final before the assembly election in Telangana though 2023 is still a long way ahead.
The GHMC is one of the largest municipal corporations in the country. It consists of four districts including Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Sangareddy. There are 24 assembly seats and five Lok Sabha seats inside this municipal area.
Southern India still remains a tough challenge for the BJP. Barring Karnataka, BJP’s influence does not appear conspicuously in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The BJP has not been able to leave much of an impact on its own in these states, the presence of a formidable RSS force notwithstanding. In alliance with other parties in the elections, BJP is able to win some seats. With the election of GHMC, the party ruling at the centre has clearly sounded the bugle for its southern conquest.
It was the first time that the BJP contested a municipal election in the country with so much aggression. For the election campaign, the party also fielded leaders like union ministers Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar, firebrand leader from Karnataka and MP Tejashwi Surya and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.