Hyderabad: The electionfor theGHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) throws up a fresh trial by fire for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) even as the party is still licking the wounds it has suffered in the recent by-election in Dubbaka Assembly segment.
Though the BJP has emerged as a major challenger to the ruling party through the poll outcome in Dubbaka, it is unlikely that the saffron party can unseat the TRS in the GHMC. The ruling party may not find it much difficult to return to power on its own with the support of its 38 ex-officio members or with the help of its all-weather ally Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). In the 202 seat GHMC (150 divisions plus 52 ex-officio members), 102 is the magic figure for any party to come to power. MLAs and MPs are the ex-officio members in the GHMC.
But Dubbaka has sent out a strong and clear message that the BJP is out to dent the KCR’s image as “Bahubali” and the GHMC election has turned out to be a prism one can see the falling KCR’s popularity graph through.
KTR, son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and MA and UD Minister, and a star campaigner of the TRS, vows to bring up his party’s tally beyond 100 from 99 seats it currently holds in the GHMC. But the ground realities suggest the other way round. Here are four most worrying factors that KCR has to ponder over.
The relationship between the TRS and the MIM are somewhat like hot and cold. KCR and Asaduddin love to play friendly matches in elections. But Chandrasekhar Rao this time could not resist the temptation to take his ally on board and it is evident with the presence of the MIM chief by KCR’s side at a poll preparatory meeting recently held at Pragati Bhavan, the CM’s official residence. This has provided an ample opportunity for the BJP to expose an “unholy” alliance between the two parties and flourish its Hindutva politics through the religious divide. In Hyderabad, which was under the rule of Nizams for long the BJP finds enough ground to grow on its religious politics.
Is KCR’s popularity graph falling?
After Dubbaka, GHMC with one thirds of the state population and 24 out of 119 Assembly segments is set to be a testing ground for the TRS patriarch to disprove the public perception that his popularity graph is declining. An analyst Raka Sudhakar told this author if the TRS’ tally will come down by half it would be a grim pointer suggesting KCR is no longer a Bahubali in state politics.
Development or underdevelopment?
The recent flash floods that struck the twin cities exposed the other side of development models projected by the TRS in the state capital. KCR has promised to develop the old city on the lines of Turkey’s Istanbul and Hyderabad Dallas. That more than a hundred colonies were flooded and 20 persons lost their lives is a grim reminder of the broken promises of the TRS. The TRS leaders were greeted by the flood victims with angry protests. The flood ravages are still fresh in the minds of the denizens that may have an adverse bearing on the poll prospects of the ruling party in the civic body elections.
In view of the location of the state capital in Hyderabad, the city has a sizeable number of government employees who can make or mar the prospects of any party. KCR before the 2018 Assembly elections promised to increase the retirement age up to 61 for the government employees. When the employees in Andhra Pradesh already had their retirement age hiked up to 60, such a promise of KCR still is failing to be a reality. Employees are left with discontentment after denial of wage revision in line with the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) and the interim relief, a benefit comes with it.