The elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, threw up a hung house with no political party reaching the absolute majority mark of 76 in the 150-seat corporation after counting of votes concluded on Friday.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the ruling party in Telangana, emerged as a single largest party in the GHMC but its numbers took a big hit. The TRS which had won 99 seats in 2016 GHMC elections, was reduced to 55 seats – a fall of nearly 43 seats.
On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had won just four seats in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party in 2016, put up a tremendous show in these elections winning 48 seats in a solo fight to emerge as the second largest party in the GHMC.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) headed by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, ended up in third position with 44 seats, which was one seat less than what it had won in 2016.
The Congress managed to win only two seats, the same number it had in the last GHMC. Taking moral responsibility for the poor show of the party, Telangana PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy announced his resignation from the post. The result of one seat has been withheld.
The hopes of TRS to retain the GHMC Mayor post at least with the help of co-opted members, including MLCs, MLAs and MPs from Hyderabad, have also been shattered. There are 52 co-opted members in the GHMC and including the 150 elected corporators, the overall strength of the GHMC elected body will 202. It requires at least 102 members to capture the Mayor’s post.
However, the TRS has only 38 co-opted members. Now that it has won only 58 corporator seats, the overall strength of the TRS will be only 96 – six seats short of the number needed to bag the Mayor’s seat.
This peculiar scenario has resulted in the AIMIM emerging as a king maker in the GHMC. Since it cannot support the BJP and the TRS has been its long-time friend, it is expected that the party will forge an alliance with the TRS to capture power in the GHMC.
The biggest gainer in these GHMC elections is the BJP, which put up a remarkable show by winning 48 seats. The party pulled out all stops to win the elections by launching a high voltage campaign by deploying its top leaders including Union home minister Amit Shah, national president J P Nadda, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath and other senior leaders.
The party successfully capitalised on the understanding between the TRS and the AIMIM and polarised the Hindu vote bank in Hyderabad, besides cashing in on the failure of the TRS government led by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in attending to the people affected by recent heavy rains and floods.
Political analyst and Osmania University professor K Nageshwar said the main reason for the failure of the TRS in the GHMC was its open friendship with the AIMIM. “It has naturally given a weapon to the BJP and an opportunity to emerge as a champion of Hindus,” he said.
Moreover, in the last five years, KCR focused only on decimating the Congress, but failed to assess the threat from the BJP. “The TRS supported the Narendra Modi government in Parliament on several issues. So, how can people believe KCR?” he asked.
Senior TRS leader and panchayat raj minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao said the people had reposed their faith in the TRS despite large scale conspiracy by the BJP which sought to exploit religious sentiments to win the seats. “They have voted for the development and rejected divisive forces,” he said.
BJP state president Bandi Sanjay attributed the stupendous performance of the party in the GHMC elections to the hard work by the party workers. “Though election commission authorities and the police supported the TRS, the people reposed their faith in us,” he said.
Karnataka minister and co-in-charge of BJP in Telangana K Sudhakar said people of Telangana were waiting for a credible alternative to the TRS. “Now there is no more a TINA factor in Telangana, but it’s BITA – BJP Is The Alternative,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir said his party was thoroughly disappointed with the results but expressed confidence that it would bounce back soon. “The TRS, BJP and MIM misled the voters with a false narrative and secured their votes by using all illegal means,” he said.