KTR has been harping on PM Modi’s slogan ‘vocal for local’ to seek votes for his ‘Pucca Local Party’.
The BJP has turned the heat on the ruling TRS in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections which will be held on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city on 28 November has nothing to do with electioneering as it was meant to oversee the vaccine preparations of the Bharat Biotech company here.
But, the PM’s hour-long visit from 1 pm to 3 pm has assumed political significance as it came a day before the campaign ends. Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) addressed his party’s political canvassing at the LB Stadium on the same day, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah campaigning is scheduled here on 29 November. The BJP campaigning included president J.P. Nadda, half a dozen Union ministers, including Prakash Javadeka and Smriti Irani, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and MPs including Tejaswi Surya, among others. Maharashtra former CM Devendra Fadnavis launched the party manifesto here on 26 November. This high- voltage campaign is coordinated by RS MP Bhupender Yadav.
On the other hand, the TRS campaigning is led by its working president and Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao (KTR), son of CM KCR. Like in 2016, KCR has entrusted the entire task of leading the GHMC electioneering, including ticket distribution, to his son, who then won 99 out of the total 150 divisions. AIMIM, indirect ally of TRS won 44, leaving 4 to BJP and 2 to Congress.
Everyone assumed the repeat of the same pattern of results, if not the same numbers, this time too till a month ago. But, BJP’s nail-biting win in nearby the Dubbaka Assembly by-election has charged the political atmosphere. BJP’s national leadership is keen on consolidating the gains of Dubbaka, while the TRS wants to prove that it was a stray defeat.
CM KCR has set a target of winning 105 divisions to his party leaders as GHMC comprises 23 Assembly segments from five Parliamentary constituencies. It will be an uphill task for the ruling party to meet to hit the target. BJP is sure to increase its tally, but to what extent it will go is to be seen. Any figure above 40 divisions will be considered as a major achievement to the party.
The meltdown of the Congress is another phenomenon in this battle for GHMC. The entire campaigning is left to the local leaders and AICC in-charge Manikam Thakur is coordinating it. The party is banking on its Malkajgiri MP A. Revanth Reddy whose Lok Sabha constituency accounts for 45 divisions. It would be big news if the party crosses a single digit in the results. The BJP has been able to woo some leaders from other parties especially, former chairman of Telangana Legislative Council Swamy Goud into its fold. Goud, who played a role as government employees’ during the separate statehood agitation, was unhappy with CM KCR not giving him enough importance and joined BJP this week. The BJP has focused on the undeclared alliance between TRS and AIMIM for the last six years. The shrill generated by BJP’s state president and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay who termed the elections as a sort of battle between the nationalists and their opponents has drowned all other issues. Sanjay’s attack also led to denials by both TRS and AIMIM that there was any deal between them.
AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi’s statement calling for demolition of memorials of late PM P.V. Narasimha Rao, late CM N.T. Rama Rao and many other Telugu luminaries along Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city, has evoked strong condemnation from KTR and other TRS leaders. Sanjay has vowed to launch a “political surgical strike” against Owaisis’ bastion, the Old City.
Not only that, BJP’s manifesto promised Rs 25,000 relief to the recent rain hit families in the city, as against the Rs 10,000 offered by the TRS government. BJP also promised to cancel the existing LRS (layout regularisation scheme) intended to regularise all illegal housing layouts by charging some penalties.
The presence of a large number of Rohingyas in the Old city of Hyderabad, too, has become an electoral weapon to BJP. BJP leaders allege that the TRS government, at the behest of the AIMIM, was not only allowing Rohingyas to illegally stay in the city, but also granting them all welfare schemes. Of course, this was denied by both TRS and AIMIM leaders.
TRS working president KTR has been harping on PM Modi’s slogan “vocal for local” to seek votes for his “Pucca Local Party”. “Do you want a Delli party or Gulli party that is ours?” KTR is asking the crowds at his road shows. The BJP has trained its guns on the TRS, describing it as a “family party”. Both the parties are concentrating on the slums and middle-class localities as the posh areas account for poor voting.