With less than a few hours left for the campaign for elections to the council of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to end, in which nearly 75 lakh voters will decide the fate 1,122 candidates and elect corporators to 150 wards, who in turn will choose the mayor of Hyderabad – the biggest common failure of four major parties in the fray – the ruling TRS and opposition parties – the MIM, BJP and the Congress – is they have not declared a mayor candidate.
In short, as people go to vote to decide their next mayor, they have no idea who the candidates are. We only have a symbol to choose from – car, lotus, palm or kite – not the names or faces of the women candidates, one of whom will be mayor.
A global city like Hyderabad deserves a global thinking mayor. One to match mayors of London, Sydney, New York or Chicago in vision, stature and personality. None of the four parties have such a candidate.
None of the parties even think the next mayor is important. None of them has a mayor worthy of Hyderabad.
The posters adorning the city have several faces – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP state president and MP Bandi Sanjay, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, MA&UD minister K.T. Rama Rao, the Majjlis Owaisi brother, Asaduddin and Akbaruddin, or a posse of Congress leader – party national leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, and state leaders like Uttam Kumar Reddy, Revanth Reddy and others – none of whom will be our mayors.
In a vituperative shrill campaign, in which the four parties have disagreed and fought on every issue, they have a bizarre consensus on one point - to our disadvantage – they don’t think they have a mayor to offer to Hyderabad whose merits our vote. Else, they would surely have put that face on the posters.
Whoever wins, we will most likely have a dummy mayor, a disappointing candidate.
In fact, the incumbent TRS has not pitched the true gully boy of the GHMC polls, the mayor they gave us – Bonthu Rammohan. If they felt he had done well, the TRS would have pitched him record of work for us to evaluate and vote upon.
Instead, with the mayoral seat reserved for a woman candidate, he was conveniently ignored.
Irony is he may, despite a dismal record, he may not even be the worst mayor ever – from TDP’s Teegala Krishna Reddy to Congress mayor Banda Karthika Reddy – none of the have been an answer to the aspirations of the city.
Contrast this with a factoid, Mumbai has been served by sheriffs (equivalent of deputy mayor) like businessman Vijaypat Singhania, cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, architect I. M. Kadri, actress Usha Kiran, restaurateur Kulwant Singh Kohli, writer Chandrakant Bakshi, filmmaker Kiran Shantaram and dentist Jagannathrao Hegde, among others.
If a global cosmopolitan city like Hyderabad was to get a mayor we deserved, all four parties are guilty of having already disappointed us. And we wonder why polling percentages are low.
Little surprise, the campaign nosedived to lows not witnessed before. Babur, Jinnah, surgical strikes, illegal Rohingya and Pakistani immigrants, threats to break monuments of past leaders like N. T. Rama Rao and P. V. Narasimha Rao, to threats of a government saying unless you elect us, there will be no development because we won’t cooperate with an opposition council to slurs on who can crush whom below whose shoe.
They are fighting for a carcass, but the soul of Hyderabad has already been lost....