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TRS Leads in Hyderabad Civic Polls, Though BJP Makes Gains

The saffron party emerged as the main opponent in seats where AIMIM and TRS were leading. Congress fares poorly.
TRS Leads in Hyderabad Civic Polls, Though BJP Makes Gains

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Hyderabad: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections results came out as a surprise as no single party won an absolute majority. Of the 150 divisions, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti or TRS was leading in 60 seats followed by All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen or AIMIM in 42, Bharatiya Janata Party in 45 and Congress in 2 divisions. The final results will be declared late night as counting was taking time since polling was held using ballot papers.

As per the officially declared results in 113 divisions, TRS won in 44, AIMIM in 39, BJP 28 and Congress 2. 

However, TRS will be in a more comfortable position to elect the mayor and deputy mayor with the support of ex-officio members' votes. The winning 150 corporators and 45 ex-officio members (TRS has 31, AIMIM 10, BJP has 3 and Congress 1 member) will elect the mayor and deputy mayor. 

The results indicate that the high-pitch communal campaign by the BJP may have translated into an increase in its votes as the saffron party had only four seats in the outgoing GHMC. This time round, it was leading in in over 40 seats while it remained as the main opponent in seats where AIMIM and TRS were leading.  

It is widely feared that the communal propaganda done by the Sangh Parivar to win the municipal election may cast a shadow over the otherwise harmonious relations in the city. Observers point to Delhi, where a similar campaign earlier this year did not deliver victory to BJP but was thought to have contributed to the communal violence witnessed in February, shortly after the elections. 

 “With these results, BJP has now taken over Congress position and became the main rival party to TRS in Telangana,” said Professor Nageswar Rao. “The TRS-AIMIM friendship gave BJP scope for counter majoritarian mobilisation among Hindus,” Rao said. 

“It is to be noted that chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao back Narendra Modi’s policies including demonetisation. How will people believe him if he starts crticising BJP just before elections,” added Rao. 

Despite a high-pitched campaign by all key parties, the voter turnout was 46.55% with 34.50 lakh people voting from a total of 74.67 lakh voters.  

Meanwhile, Telangana High Court on Friday kept on hold the implementation of a circular by the State Election Commission on counting of ballot papers. The circular stated that ballot papers with a distinguished mark instead of a 'swastik' mark should be considered as a valid vote.

 “TRS is winning in most seats. As voting was by paper ballot, we will have to wait for three-four more hours to get the exact numbers. I believe the BJP numbers will further decline and heavy support for TRS will surface. We will have our mayor and do public works uninterrupted," said TRS MLC K Kavitha.

The local body election process came to sthe limelight this time as the BJP roped in its national leaders, including Union ministers -- Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani, Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Maharashtra former CM Devendra Fadnavis, Bangalore South MP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) National President Tejasvi Surya among others for campaigning. The saffron party’s polarising campaign centered around, ‘Pakistan’, ‘Name changing of Hyderabad to Bhagynagar’, ‘illegal migrants’ and ‘surgical strike’ on the Old City.

Political parties, including TRS, Congress and Left parties, gave a call for rejecting “divisive” politics of BJP.

During the 2016 GHMC elections, the overall poll percentage was 45.29%. At that time, the ruling TRS won in 99 divisions while AIMIM won in 44 wards. The BJP won in four wards leaving two for the Congress and one seat for Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

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