Hyderabad: After a false sense of victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) thanks to postal ballots, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now comfortably leading in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections. Until 4 p.m., it was reported that the TRS had won in 16 wards, the Congress in 2, and the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) secured victory in 25.
Early in the day, when postal ballots totalling to only 1,926 votes (out of 34 lakh votes) were being counted, media reports, especially Hindi outlets based in New Delhi, suggested that the BJP was on course to win as many as 80 out of the 150 GHMC seats. However, once counting of ballots began, the TRS’ car (symbol) literally zoomed ahead of the opposition.
While it is too early to say if the TRS will repeat close to its 2016 performance of 99 seats, analysts are expecting the ruling party to win anything between 65-75 seats. An AIMIM legislator, who did not want to be quoted, said that his party will win 45 seats. However, a clear picture will come only by evening, once counting is fully completed.
The BJP which was buoyed by the early postal ballot leads seems to have celebrated a little too early, has clearly failed to make a major dent in the TRS’s hold, given that it launched an aggressive Hindutva campaign in Hyderabad, and even roped in national level leaders like BJP national president Amit Shah, and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
In Hyderabad, the AIMIM has its bastions in the Old City areas which are dominated by Muslims, which fall under the 7 assembly segments that the party, led by Hyderabad Lok Sabha member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, has been winning from over a decade. In the previous GHMC elections, the TRS swept the polls by winning 99 seats and promised to develop Hyderabad as part of its narrative. The BJP then could win just 4 wards.