Hyderabad: A highly emotionally charged and communalised campaign by political parties for the elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections finally concluded at 6 pm on Sunday.
The polling will be held on December 1 (Tuesday) and results will be declared on December 4 (Friday). As soon as the campaign ended, providing for cooling off period, parties and candidates are now keenly awaiting election day.
A night before the poll campaign ended, TRS chief and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is reportedly confident of retaining power in greater Hyderabad. He is reported to have told his leaders, “we have sent a message to all sections of people. Now they have to decide whether they want peace and prosperity or disturbances.”
Sources close to CM Rao disclosed that he said, “with forces rallying against us, I was left with only option – to place my views before people.”
Sources claimed that Rao believed strongly that Hyderabad people will give TRS a massive mandate. “Boss is confident of retaining power in GHMC, probably with over 100 seats,” a source claimed.
Meanwhile, leaders of all parties and candidates in the fray made a last effort to reach out to as many voters as possible on the last day of the nine-day campaign. Incidentally, the campaign for GHMC attracted national headlines, with allegations and counters by leaders of TRS, BJP, Congress and MIM during their padayatras and road shows.
The campaign became a fight for narratives. While the BJP tried to “expose” the alliance between TRS and MIM, and the appeasement, corruption, family rule of the pink party, besides raking up issues like Rohingya immigrants, the TRS tried to dub it a “battle between decisive and divisive forces”. The opposition also focused on the failures of TRS in fulfilling poll promises, from building two bedroom houses and handling the recent floods to massive corruption of the ruling party.
It was a campaign where the TRS sought continuity and the opposition pitched for change.
BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar triggered a high-voltage campaign, accusing Chief Minister Rao of having links with terrorists, and questioning if he was a “true” Hindu. Later, Bandi’s spoke of a surgical strike on Old City to weed out illegal Rohingya Muslims, besides Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals. BJP said the TRS-MIM combine helped Rohingya get voters ID cards.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and his brother and floor leader in Assembly Akbaruddin were equally guilty of vitiating the campaign, wherein Akbaruddin claimed all Chief Ministers from Chandrababu Naidu to Dr Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy and present CM Chandrashekar Rao danced to his tunes. He also threatened to wreck the samadhis of several leaders including the late P. V. Narasimha Rao and late N. T. Rama Rao.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao too in his retorts subtly warned the people to not vote for the BJP because the successful working of GHMC depended upon the support of the state government.
TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao led the party charge and was supported by Cabinet colleagues, MPs, MLAs, MLCs including K. Kavitha and T. Harish Rao. Rama Rao held 33 road shows, covering 100 divisions under 15 Assembly segments.
The BJP, which is expressing confidence of repeating a Dubbaka in the GHMC, deployed a galaxy of national leaders including union ministers Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar, G Kishan Reddy and Nithyananda Rai, national president JP Nadda, UP Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, national spokesperson Dr. Sambit Patra, Mahila Morcha national president Vanathi Srinivasan, BJYM president and MP Tejaswi Surya, among others. The party had appointed its general secretary Bhupendra Yadav as in-charge for the elections.
The BJP, exposing the nepotism of the Kalvakuntla family, described the elections as a fight between “dynasty rule of KCR family and democratic rule of BJP”.
TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy, Manickam Tagore, AICC in-charge of Telangana affairs, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka, working presidents A. Revanth Reddy, Ponnam Prabhakar, former ministers Mohammed Ali Shabbir, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Dr, J Geetha Reddy, MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and former MP V Hanumanth Rao campaigned for Congress candidates and sought votes on the plank of development.
MIM leaders Asaduddin Owaisi, Akbaruddin Owaisi and Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel, MIM Bihar unit president Akhtarul Imaan campaigned for Majlis candidates. The MIM mainly targeted the BJP for its “Hindutva” agenda.
Though the Telugu Desam is also in the fray, its campaign was limited to certain pockets....