- The TRS won 55 of the 150 wards while the BJP got 48 wards
- The AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi secured 44
- Hyderabad saw a deeply polarising campaign this time
Telangana's ruling TRS party emerged as the largest party as votes were counted on Friday in the high-stakes Hyderabad municipal election, but its victory was dimmed by the BJP's massive surge after an exceptionally high-voltage and divisive contest. The BJP, which mounted a campaign that was unusually aggressive for any local election, has taken second place in a close fight with the AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi.
The TRS won 55 of the 150 wards in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election while the BJP got 48 wards and the AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi secured 44. The Congress could win only two wards. Counting of votes had to be stopped in one ward - Neredmet - following a high court order. In the previous election, the TRS scored 99 seats, the AIMIM 44 and the BJP 4.
The TRS or Telangana Rashtra Samithi of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao saw an over 40 per cent drop in its tally from the 2016 polls. The BJP, with nothing to lose, made big gains at the cost of the ruling party in a region where it was almost non-existent so far. For the BJP, these results mark a giant leap in their plans for the 2023 Telangana election, which they say will be a straight fight between the TRS and the BJP, with the Congress hardly a player.
"The result is not what we expected. We fell short by 20-25 seats than our expectations. 10-12 seats saw a margin of less than 200 votes. There's nothing to be disappointed, we will be single largest party," said Telangana minister KT Rama Rao or KTR, the Chief Minister's son.
BJP President JP Nadda said, "The people of Hyderabad have made it clear what will be the results of the Telangana assembly elections (2023). I can say with confidence that people of Telangana have decided to say goodbye to the corrupt KCR government."
A deeply polarising campaign this time by most parties focused more on Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and whether Hyderabad wants its name changed to Bhagyanagar than civic matters like roads, sanitation and water supply.
The BJP raised the stakes in the civic polls after its victory in the recent by-election to the Dubbak assembly constituency. The party flew in national leaders like Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Yogi Adityanath, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, hoping to convince Hyderabad that a change was needed, if not now then certainly in the 2023 state polls.
The BJP's Tejasvi Surya, the Bangalore South MP, was widely criticised for his provocative remarks while taking on the TRS and Asaduddin Owaisi.
BJP's Telangana president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar controversially said his party would conduct a "surgical strike" in the old city, if necessary, to send away the Rohingya and Pakistanis.
KTR, who led the TRS campaign, sought to strike an emotional chord with the people, appealing to them to "save the city from divisive forces", hinting at the BJP.
The BJP's electoral gains have come from the flood-hit parts of Hyderabad where there was public anger against the state government over the alleged mishandling of flood relief. The BJP also reached out to those who felt disenchanted by the TRS, like the Reddy community, the so-called settler population.
The GHMC was formed in April 2007 by merging 12 municipalities and eight gram panchayats with the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH). Four districts fall within GHMC limits, including Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Sangareddy.