GHMC polls: BJP’s Hindutva poster boy Raja Singh missing from campaign?

Hyderabad: The ongoing campaign for the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections has taken a sharp communal turn, all thanks to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) blitzkrieg of Hindutva aggression. Oddly, the saffron party’s poster boy in Telangana, BJP’s Raja Singh, has however been missing in its entire campaign. 

In fact, the two notable faces who have now assumed the roles of agent provocateur are Telangana BJP president (and member of Parliament from the Karimnagar seat) Bandi Sanjay and Nizamabad MP D. Arvind. Both have been indulging in inflammatory speeches right from day one, unlike earlier when only Raja Singh would be doing the same, while rest of the leaders would talk about development. 

According to sources, one reason that other leaders like Bandi Sanjay and Arvind have taken center stage is due to inner party differences. It may be also noted that both these leaders from the BJP are as incendiary as Raja Singh, with regard to their public statements. A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be named, said, “We are expecting to win about 20 to 30 seats at least (out of 150).” 

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In the previous GHMC elections, the TRS won 99 seats, while the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, won 44. The TDP, BJP and Congress were left with scraps. However, it may be noted that the TDP then still had some support base, and was in an alliance with the BJP. 

“After the Bihar state polls, and the Dubbak bye-poll win here, the BJP feels there is some brewing dissatisfaction against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. However, if you look at things in retrospect, right from the 2018 assembly polls, the BJP’s performance was poor, except in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections wherein it won 4 out of 17 seats in Telangana,” said Prof. E. Venkatesu, a faculty member from University of Hyderabad’s political science department.  

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Prof. Venkatesu pointed out that the Dubbak bye-poll loss was a surprise as generally relatives of the sitting MLAs who pass away easily win. “It was a puzzle. It has created an environment in the GHMC elections, where it is TRS versus BJP. But why BJP MLA Raja Singh is silent is a puzzle.

When contacted Raja Singh, the BJP MLA from the Goshamahal seat said that he has been out of action since November 22 due to a death in his extended family member. “Hence, as per our rituals, we are not supposed to be out for 13 days,” he told siasat.com.

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