Elections to the GHMC were actually due in February of 2021. The TRS decided to pre-pone the elections by three months to gain an upper hand. Other parties barely had 10 days to prepare for the elections. TRS had 99 sitting corporators (out of 150). With the current composition of the GHMC council (150 elected corporators + 45 ex-officio members), the TRS only needed 67 seats to have their Mayor again. Every single exit poll released yesterday predicted that TRS will win the Mayor seat (most predicted a landslide too!). Some newspapers wrote celebratory headlines based on these exit polls.
But the voter had other things on his/her mind. They gave the TRS just 56 seats in this election (as opposed to 99 in 2016) and gave the BJP 49 seats (as opposed to just 4 in 2016)! The next logical step that will obviously happen is that the TRS and MIM (which won 43 seats, as expected) enter into a post-poll arrangement and share the post of the Mayor.
So, while the power stays with TRS, they have very clearly lost the electoral battle in Hyderabad. And they didn’t lose this battle because of the reasons the English media is attributing to. Quite expectedly, the English media sought to make the BJP’s campaign as being based on communalism. Quite conveniently, they did not tell you that in an election that has AIMIM as a key player, how can communalism not be on the table?
Even the regional media was taken aback by the efforts that BJP had put in for the GHMC elections and toed the same path. The film and TV fraternity were also shocked by the efforts of the BJP and started to openly support KTR, the working President of TRS and son of KCR.
But no ruling party loses elections on this scale just because the opposing party resorts to “communalism”. A party loses election so badly because they failed to deliver what was promised to the citizens. Issues such as traffic, roads, water, housing, floods etc played a very important role in the campaign strategy of the BJP and TRS. Issues such as availability and accessibility of the corporators played a very important role in this election.
Issues such as corruption and goondaism, right from the Mayor to the corporator, have played a very important role in this election. AIMIM of course doesn’t have to bother about mundane issues such as these.
There are no two ways to read this verdict – it is a slap on the arrogant face of TRS and its leadership.
BJP’s campaign strategy in the GHMC elections, that revolved around asking people for one chance to serve Hyderabad, seems to have worked well. On one side, they had aggressive speeches by leaders such as Bandi Sanjay and D. Aravind and on the other, they had governance/development focused speeches by leaders such as Kishan Reddy. The aggressive oratory style of KCR and KTR finally found its right match in the equally aggressive styles of Bandi Sanjay and D. Aravind! And not to forget the karyakartas on the ground – one should have been on the ground to have seen the enthusiasm and the hard work the karyakartas and volunteers had put in, to teach the TRS a lesson. The support from the central leadership of the party was another huge factor that enthused the cadre.
The BJP’s astounding victory in the Dubbaka MLA by-poll was seen as a one-off victory by many. The GHMC election result has now decisively altered the political discourse of the state. This is the first time since TRS won the 2014 Assembly election that it has been unseated from a position of power by the people. It is now clear that the BJP is the first decisive opposition that the TRS has ever encountered after the formation of the Telangana state. It is up to the BJP how they will build upon these continuous victories. What was touted as “just a municipal election” by the ‘liberals’, has now changed the political discourse of the entire state!