The Old City violence involving MIM leaders on the polling day in the GHMC elections seems to have pushed the ruling TRS in a “caught between the devil and the deep sea” situation.
The MIM, which has been allying with the Congress from the beginning, shifted its loyalty to the ruling party after the TRS came to power in the newly-formed Telangana State in 2014 elections. The Majlis party, along with Congress even shared power in the GHMC after the 2009 elections. However, with one Lok Sabha member and seven MLAs, MIM has been extending support to the TRS within and outside the legislature after the pink party wrested power from the Congress in Telangana.
Though the TRS and MIM have been cozying with each other, both the parties contested the GHMC elections, the first to be held after the formation of Telangana State, on their own. While TRS has fielded its nominees in all the 150 Divisions of the corporation, the MIM entered the fray in 66 Divisions, mostly in the minority-dominated Old City area from where its MLAs were elected.
It is an open secret that the TRS and MIM had a tacit understanding to enter into a post-poll alliance to have a grip over the administration of GHMC by pocketing the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts in the event of TRS failing to secure an absolute majority in the corporation elections. In fact, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had even hinted that his party, if needed would seek the support of MIM to capture the Mayoral posts.
But the sudden turn of events during the GHMC polling, especially the flare-up in the Old City, involving the MIM leaders in the alleged assault on TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy and Congress leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Md Shabbir Ali and also subsequent attack on the house of TRS Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali and assault on his son, put the TRS in a piquant situation as far as its relations with the MIM is concerned.
While all the Opposition parties have united in condemning the assault on the Congress leaders and demanded stern action against the MIM leaders, including arrest of the party’s MP Asaduddin Owaisi and his brother and MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, the TRS surprisingly adopted a nonchalant attitude despite attack on the Deputy Chief Minister’s house and his son. The reaction of IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao over the incident that such incidents during the elections would be looked after by the police and they would take appropriate action, amply spoke of the ruling party’s balancing act about the incident.
Understandably, the TRS does not want to jump and condemn the MIM univocally and distance itself from the Majlis as it cannot afford to lose the party’s support in its game plan to establish supremacy and power in the administration of one of the biggest corporations in the country. What is more, the continued silence on the part of the ruling party even after the growing demand from all Opposition parties for invoking Section 8 of the A.P.Reorganization Act citing threat to law and order situation from MIM in Hyderabad is being construed as an indication on the part of TRS not to antagonize its ally.
Even the unexpected booking of criminal cases against the Congress leaders in connection with the Old City violence, despite the fact that they were the victims in the assault as clearly evidenced from CCTV and TV footages, has become a talking point in various sections. What is intriguing is that the police have booked cases against Congress leaders on a complaint lodged by one who in fact is clearly seen slapping, hitting and dragging and injuring Shabbir Ali.
Thus all these sequence of events is a clear pointer to the tight spot in which the TRS has been pushed into in reacting against the MIM. If the State administration initiates any action against the MIM, then there is the threat of TRS losing its support. And if it continues to remain nonchalant in initiating action against the MIM, then it might send wrong signals to the citizens. Thus, it is to be seen whether the ruling party would wriggle out of this piquant situation after the outcome of the GHMC elections. (NSS)