The sudden deep interest of the BJP in Hyderabad has raised several eyebrows in the South. Adding to the shock is the fact that the party is gearing up to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda and many other BJP associates in Hyderabad for campaigning in the city for the upcoming municipal elections.
The party’s immense concentration in the city elections have been made evident through its move of bringing in the top leaders of the nation for pulling the strings of the campaign for local polls.
With the elections for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Cooperation (GMHC) due to be held on 1st December, the ruling party TRS is witnessing BJP as its major contestant this year apart from AIMIM.
Not just the Prime Minister, but other prominent BJP leaders like Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is also expected to be a part of the campaign here in Hyderabad, according to the prepared draft of the party.
Extreme steps are being taken just for obtaining victory in the polls that crown the next Mayor of Hyderabad. Though the previous year’s municipal elections got BJP a mere 4 wards, it is more charged up this year. In 2019, TRS had gained the upper hand again, sliding into the victory spot with 99 wards, followed with Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM that won 44 wards. Congress had attained 2 wards while TDP (Telugu Desham Party), that once upon a time ruled the united Andhra Pradesh, secured only one.
The question remains as to what transitioned over the past 4 years that has pushed BJP to this extent.
The answer lies with BJP’s win in the recent Dubakka polls where the party thrashed KCR’s TRS and won 1,000 votes more than Mr. Rao’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi.
BJP’s eye on the southern city got keener after its surprising win in the Dubakka polls that remained TRS’s strong point over the years. The party after getting victorious in Dubakka, handed Hyderabad polls’ responsibility to the major strategist of BJP who led Bihar’s elections and grabbed the bulk of the seats in the state.
With this, it sees a hole in the TRS’s grip of Telangana which BJP aims to fill and ultimately dominate completely, quashing TRS’s hand.
As far as the assembly elections of 2019 are concerned, BJP had secured only one seat of Goshamahal. Though last year the party did not manage to fetch any seats in neither the zila parishad elections nor the bypolls, the parliamentary elections of 2019 helped them win 4 out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats of the state, fuelling their empty confidence tanks.
The Dubakka win is even more victorious as the polls largely remained the dominant arena of K. Chandrasekhar Rao with Harish Rao made responsible for handling them as he is regarded as the master poll strategist of TRS and chief election winner.
Despite several efforts of the TRS, when it failed, BJP considered it an early win for the various elections that remained ahead.
According to sources, BJP is seeing a great opportunity in the state with an empty opponent’s position.
The state that was earlier ruled by Congress witnessed the party’s downfall after the bifurcation of the state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with the former getting ruled by TDP in the first term and TRS holding on to the latter till now.
BJP believes that the municipal elections could pave way to the win of assembly elections in 2023 and subsequently the general elections for KCR’s current seat in 2024.
As the party has landed its foot in only one southern state, Karnataka, it is looking at Hyderabad municipal elections to evolve itself as a major party in the south as well.
Opinion polls were allegedly conducted even prior to the Dubakka bypolls that brought in front the existing opportunity in Telangana, according to sources within BJP.
With the election date nearing, various parties in contest for the Mayor’s seat has thrown allegations at each other, aiming to lure voters.
TRS MP Tejasvi Surya delivered controversial speeches during his campaign where he called Asaduddin Owaisi as a replica of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. He also accused the President of AIMIM of welcoming “Rohingya Muslims instead of development” in Hyderabad.
A tongue in cheek reply came from Mr. Owaisi as he said, “These people need to have some biryani which will bring them back to their senses.”