The GHMC election was, in a way, a trend-setter that can be expected to change the course of politics in the country
Hyderabad: In the highly polarised election to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) emerged as the single largest party winning 55 divisions while the BJP rose to second position with 48 seats in the 150-member council.
The AIMIM was relegated to the third position despite the party retaining all its 44 seats while Congress managed to win just two divisions.
The result of one division – Neredmet – has been held back on account of a High Court directive following a writ petition filed by the BJP on use of ink to mark selection of candidate instead of the cross marker. The GHMC elections were held on December 1 after a high octane 13-day campaign and counting was taken up on Friday.
That it was a clear case of complete polarisation of votes rather than people voting on the basis of concrete public issues is evident from the fact that most of the 44 seats that the BJP gained, up from four in the last Council to 48 now, were from TRS’ kitty of 99. With MIM maintaining its tally of 44 seats, it is crystal clear that the voting was heavily polarised on the basis of religion, something that the saffron party had openly pushed for.
That aside, never has any civic body election in the country generated so much heat, and national attention. The GHMC election was, in a way, a trend-setter that can be expected to change the course of politics in the country. Corporation elections, going by the way the GHMC poll campaign was conducted by BJP, will no longer be confined to the local leadership of the so-called national parties.
The corporation election should also serve as a trigger point for regional parties to recalibrate their election strategies to factor in the unexpected as happened in the case of BJP that flew in hordes of national leaders including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of other States to address target audiences. For the Congress, it was the proverbial last nail on the grand old party’s coffin with its win of just two seats.
The party’s dismal performance led to the State Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy putting in his papers and seeking appointment of the State unit president immediately.
The stridently aggressive saffron party leadership unleashed its propaganda of hate and politics of polarisation, threw in some unreachable goodies to the people and even knocked on the doors of the judiciary. The party’s State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar and Nizamabad MP Dharmapuri Aravind spoke of surgical strikes in old city, of Hindus migrating to new city out of fear, and demolition of Darussalam, the MIM headquarters, the last being in retaliation to the uncalled for and highly provocative remark by MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi seeking demolition of PV Gnana Bhoomi and NTR Ghat.
All these seem to have worked to the advantage of the BJP that was only seeking to polarise votes.
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