Rajat Sharma

Hyderabad civic body results: A spectacular win for BJP

akbIn a stunning performance, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday scored a spectacular leap in its tally from four to 48 wards in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections, almost decimating the Congress and became the second largest party in the civic body. This was the result of a high-octane poll campaign spearheaded by top leaders like Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath and party chief J. P. Nadda.

The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s tally declined from 99 last time to 55, with the BJP making big inroads into TRS territory. This is the second state in the South, after Karnataka, where the BJP has extended its base with an eye on 2023 Telangana assembly polls.

Five years ago, BJP was at No.5 spot in the Hyderabad civic body, but it has now dethroned the Congress to gain the No. 2 spot. This is a clear indication of the winds of change that is blowing in the state. Asaduddin Owaisi’s All Indian Muslim Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested 51 seats, and won 44, mainly in its strongholds in Old Hyderabad. Owaisi kept his Muslim vote bank intact, but the civic body results have sound a warning to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the TRS supremo. His party may not be able to get its city mayor elected on the basis of its own strength.

Congress was the worst sufferer in the elections. It contested 150 seats, but managed to win only two. The party cannot blame electronic voting machines this time, because the civic body polling was done on printed ballots.

Four clear signals have emerged from these results. One, BJP’s experiment in this Southern state have yielded results. Two, it contested the civic polls with a clear strategy by bringing in national leaders for the first time to campaign and it succeeded. Three, BJP has now two big municipal corporations, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, where it has a big presence. Four, BJP’s graph in Telangana is rising. In 2018, it had only 7 per cent vote share in the state assembly polls, but in the following year, it cornered 20 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Hyderabad civic body results also show how Owaisi has succeeded in getting a good 84 per cent strike rate by resorting to a tactical strategy. Out of a total of 150 wards, he decided to contest only 51, where Muslim voters dominate, and managed to win 44 seats. Owaisi has shown that he is good at making election strategies. In Bihar, his party contested only 20 seats and won five, all in Muslim dominated areas. Had Owaisi failed in his home base in Hyderabad, it would have put a brake on his plans for West Bengal elections. Now he can concentrate on Bengal which has a sizeable proportion of Muslim voters, who support Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

While the three main parties in Hyderabad, TRS, BJP and AIMIM, are celebrating because of different reasons, the only party left out in the cold is Congress. Its state unit chief resigned after the results were out and the central leadership is clueless.

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