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Hyderabad Civic Polls: The Stage for the High-Risk Ballot Battle | India News


NEW DELHI: It’s not often that a municipal election makes national news. But such has been the buzz surrounding the election of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation that it has caught the attention of the entire nation.
And why not?
When we have the Union Minister of the Interior, who is also the second most important leader of the ruling party in the Center, several Union ministers, the Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, all campaigning in a city for a municipal vote, it is natural that the country will sit down and take notice.
“I want to assure the people of Hyderabad that we want to free the city of Nizam culture …” Amit Shah said on the last day of the campaign after holding a road show in the city.
The 10-day election campaign saw the BJP’s best gunmen, from Amit Shah and JP Nadda to UP Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath, campaigning in the city and raising the tone on issues such as appeasement and dynasty politics. .

In fact, the BJP’s big push for these polls has even taken its political opponents by surprise.
Telangana Prime Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, whose Telangana Rashtra Samiti had won a beautiful victory in the 2018 assembly elections, winning 88 seats with a 46.87 percent vote share, has been forced to do an aggressive campaign to counter the BJP attack.
“Some divisive forces are trying to enter Hyderabad and create havoc in the city. Are we going to allow it? Are we going to lose the peace …?” KCR said at a rally urging people to vote for their TRS.
Another key player in these elections, the All India Majils-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen or the AIMIM of the Owaisi brothers, engaged in a bitter war of words with BJP leaders as they challenged the party in their Hyderabad stronghold.
With a sizeable Muslim population, AIMIM has traditionally done well in the city in past elections. In the 2018 assembly elections, the party won 7 seats with 2.71 percent of the vote.
However, AIMIM’s strong divisive tone makes it fertile ground for the BJP to push forward its Hindutva agenda and polarize voters.
It is not surprising that the emotional issue of renaming Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar and words like “surgical strikes, Rohingya, Razakar, Terrorists, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Bin Laden, Babar and Biryani” were used by the leaders to attack each other.
In this massive battle for the ballots, the real civic problems and the large number of promises made by the parties on these issues took a back seat.
So why did the BJP go full throttle in a civic election?
The BJP’s high-profile Hyderabad campaign appears to be a well thought out and planned strategy to make inroads into the state before the next assembly elections in 2023 and also the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
With Congress gradually losing ground, the BJP is eager to occupy the space and extend its reach in Telangana to become an alternative to the ruling TRS, just as it has done in several other states.
Hyderabad’s immediate trigger could be the BJP’s victory in the Dubbak assembly constituency.
In a close contest, BJP candidate M Raghunandan Rao edged out his closest TRS rival, Solipeta Sujatha, by a margin of 1,079 votes in the November 3 vote.
The by-election was necessary due to the death of Sujatha’s husband, Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy of TRS, due to health problems in August.
The electoral triumphs of the BJP in Telangana
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 4 seats with 3,626,173 votes, representing 19.65 percent of the total votes surveyed.

In the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP managed to win just one seat with 1,443,799 votes, which represented 6.98% of the total votes.

And while it may not be prudent to compare the party’s performance in two elections with different dynamics, for the BJP it was clearly an indication of increased support in the state.
For the BJP, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, with more than 74 lakh voters covering 24 assembly segments and five constituencies of Lok Sabha, the municipal survey is a good ground not only to experiment, but also to extend its based on state.
In the latest civic polls, the BJP was able to get only 4 seats. The TRS with 99 seats was the clear winner and AIMIM with 44 seats was second.
Here’s a look at the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of the top four contenders in the December 1 election:

Competitive populism: free energy, water and subways for women
From free energy to free water to free Metro rides for women and students, all the major parties have made attractive promises in their manifestos. Here’s a look at some poll promises made by key political parties
TRS: No energy charges for hair salons, dhobhi ghats and laundries. Minimum energy fee exemption for commercial establishments, industries and movie theaters from April to September 2020 in view of the closure of Covid19.
BJP: Free energy for all houses using less than 100 units per month. Free energy and loan facilities for all traditional professionals
Congress: free energy up to 100 units per month and 100% electricity exemption for Covid-19 lockdown period (amount paid will be adjusted)
TRS: Free water up to 20,000 liters per month
BJP: Free supply of drinking water to all homes and provision of tap connections
Congress: Free water up to 30,000 liters per month and free drinking water connections °
Public transport
TRS: Hyderabad Airport Express Metro Rail Limited will be established, Metro connectivity will be installed to the airport, Metro Rail Phase II from Raidurg to Shamshabad Airport, BHEL to Mehdipatnam, MMTS Phase II and elevated BRTS will be taken.
BJP: Free ride for women commuters on the subway and city buses. The expansion of the Metro railway and the connection with the metro and MMTS stations will be carried out.
Congress: Free public transportation RTC, railway subway and MMTS trains for women, students and people with different disabilities. Extension of the metro to the Old City and the airport
Property tax
TRS: 50% exemption from property tax for those who pay up to 15,000 rupees per year during the current financial year (2020-2021)
BJP: Property tax exemption in all SC neighborhoods and slums. Free permit for the construction of houses in less than 125 square meters
Congress: 100% property taxes and MV tax exemption during Covid-19 shutdown. There is no property tax for 2BHK houses, slum houses and houses built on 80 square meters. The same applies to barbers, goldsmiths, carpenters, and laundry men. 75% exemption from ex-military taxes.

Times of India