– Aditya Bharadwaj Khandavalli
“We’ve planned a surgical Strike and have done a Saffron one” exalted B. Sanjay the State president of BJP Telangana. As Hyderabad Municipal Elections witness a swing in giving rise to astonishing results. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s vote share has seen a 31% surge recording 34% while the seat number has gone up by 10 times that of the past election. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti(TRS) which had 99 seats in the past election now had to limit itself to 55. The exit polls forecast went wrong in several places. Very narrow margins as a 36 vote in MacchaBollaram were recorded which summarizes that the ruling party had to sweat for win. This was the situation in many wards. The BJP’s intrusion was very fierce in areas of TRS strong hold. It took over 41 seats from them in this election. Congress and TDP were no-where in the scene. Congress managed to get a couple of seats while TDP didn’t witness an increment from zero. PCC President Mr.Uttam Kumar Reddy resigns taking responsibility of this defeat.
All the efforts of TRS went in vain. The constituencies led by its ace leaders were swept off by BJP. Over 44 sitting seats were lost by that party. The LB Nagar Assembly Constituency witnessed a complete shift towards BJP. The mandate was very clear that the people of Metro wanted a “Bhagyanagar” to “Hyderabad”. Several ministers and senior leaders had to face defeat in their incharge wards, constituencies. Smt. K. Kavita the daughter of the chief minister and sister of IT Minster and incharge of GHMC elections from TRS was the incharge of Gandhinagar lost that ward. Despite every toil of pleasing the voters the result wasn’t in their favour. Sitting Corporator and Wife of sitting MLA Mr.B.Subhash Reddy from Uppal too had to lose.
BJP emerging as the second largest party after TRS surpassing AIMIM is another feather in their cap. The duo of TRS and AIMIM was busted out by the saffron force. Ballot voting after a long time gave rise to uncertain situations. As the state election commission issued a circular on counting votes marked with even a pen instead of ink and the High Court has dismissed it in response of BJP’s petition. The magic figure still of 102 summing up Ex-Officio votes is at an arm’s length to everyone. Coalitions’ emerge to be essential. The TRS which denied coalition with AIMIM throughout the election seems to be introspective and also in dilemma. On the whole this election can be treated as a referendum for the ruling party by the people of the city ahead of 2023 assembly elections.
However TRS which has many MLAs and MLCs from the Greater Hyd region, may have enough ex-officio votes to win the indirect election for the Mayoral seat. Even if TRS succeeds in ruling the Hyd corporation in this term, it is clear that BJP has consolidated it’s political strength and is going to become the foremost challenger to TRS in the next assembly elections in 2023. GHMC has about 20% of the state assembly seats in it’s area, and hence it shows the trend for the rest of the state. It is certainly a shot in the arm for Mr Bandi Sanjay, MP who spearheaded the campaign and who was harassed by the state police and even attacked by TRS cadre.
The election had many pitfalls, the voter electoral rolls in several areas were revised just 2 weeks before the elections, thousands of voters didn’t know their voter numbers, as the database wasn’t updated, and hence couldn’t vote in the elections. Similarly thousands of voters couldn’t exercise their franchise, as their names were deleted from the voter lists, the same problem arose in the previous GHMC elections in 2016 too. The state Election commission officials failed to do their duty in revising and updating the voter database and in informing the electorate on the changes. Similarly, it is unclear as to why the state Election commission used the outdated ballot papers, instead of EVMs. The above two issues give rise to speculation whether the ruling party was intending to manipulate the elections in their favour as the state machinery is under their control. Nevertheless, it is a serious issue as thousands of eligible voters couldn’t exercise their franchise.
It is also interesting that the campaign reflected the ethos and the aspiration of the city to be called by it’s original name Bhagyanagar, it is hoped that BJP leaders may make an effort in that direction. Hyd being the gateway of the south, could herald BJP’s lotus bloom all over south.