The Telangana Rashtra Samithi triumphed in its maiden contest in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, literally sweeping the polls with a victory in 100-plus seats out of the 150 divisions in the City.
The Telangana Bhavan, TRS headquarters, wore a festive look with several leaders greeting one another and smearing gulal.
Though the victory of the TRS was a fait accompli, the crushing defeat it has inflicted on the Congress and the TDP-BJP combine with a bang may have surely benumbed the bosses of the Opposition parties, especially TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, who claimed that “nobody have more rights on Hyderabad than me.”
It’s a ‘fatah poster, niklaa hero’ moment for the TRS, especially IT Minister K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), son of the TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), for he took upon his shoulders the onus of leading the party from the infantry.
The Grand Old Party Congress, which has separated the State of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, hasn’t crossed a woefully small number of just two municipal divisions out of 150.
The high-decibel campaign, especially in the media channels and some friendly newspapers, by the Telugu Desam Party-Bharatiya Janata Party ended up in a whimper.
Chandrababu Naidu and Venkaiah Naidu separately campaigned addressing several public meetings at different places in the city only to end up with a humiliating four seats out of 150. The bombast of the TDP’s ‘gung-ho’ claims of ‘so-called development’ just petered out. The jingoistic propaganda that the two parties were responsible for the growth of IT in the city did not cut much ice with the electors.
These two formations are almost extinct in the city, as far as the GHMC is concerned.
The Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen (MIM), though found itself to be the second largest party in the GHMC council with about 40 seats, surely hasn’t done as expected. The party contested 62 seats and hoped to bag about 50 seats. The violence indulged in by MIM cadres and leaders, including the party supremo Asaduddin Owaisi, indicated the frustration levels of the party.
TRS supremo KCR has indeed played his cards very cleverly. His son KTR challenged the opponents that he would renounce politics and take a ‘political sanyas’ if his party did not win 100 seats and also wrest the Mayoral position. With a view to saving the skin of the TRS and also of his son, in case of any eventuality, the Chief Minister has kept the door ajar for the MIM, saying that the latter was “anyway a friendly party”.
Almost every leader from every other party joined the issue with KTR. Most important of them all was TDP MLA and main accused in the cash-for-vote case A Revanth Reddy who had thrown a challenge that he would leave Telangana State, if the TRS won.
National secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) K Narayana challenged that he would snip his ear, if the TRS won.
Ever since the poll results began trickling in, social media is agog with witty comments awaiting the losers to fulfil their challenges.
The Congress did not have a strategy from the beginning and “strategically” nominated Vikram Goud, son of former minister Mukesh Goud, as its mayor candidate. He also lost the polls. Former Mayor Banda Karthika Reddy was trounced by the TRS candidate with a majority if whopping 14,000-plus votes in Tarnaka division. Another former Mayor Majeed Hussain (MIM), however, won.
The TDP-BJP combine has pinned its hopes on the large migrant population in divisions spread around the outskirts of the city and expected big victories. But their expectations were belied beyond their imagination by the electorate. The experiment of projecting Chandrababu Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, as the party’s star campaigner, also conked off.
However, KCR’s strategy that “none of the migrants is an outsider and all those living in the city are Hyderabadis and that there is no incident causing security concerns among people from Andhra,” has indeed paid off.
At the end of the day, a beaming KTR came in front of the media and announced that the TRS had scripted a new history in the city and the results were a referendum to the TRS Government’s performance in the last 18 months.
“Our responsibility has increased. It has been proved beyond doubt that we enjoy the support of all sections of people in the City. We are bowing our heads and expressing gratitude wholeheartedly. We will stay committed to the promises made in the manifesto. The TRS victory means the people reposed their confidence in the leadership of the TRS and KCR and we will not belie their expectations,” he said.