Hyderabad: Notwithstanding the no-holds-barred, high-voltage, last-minute blitzkrieg by the star campaigners of Mahakutami constituents and BJP, they are unlikely to register any successes. The TRS and AIMIM seem poised to make a clean sweep of the 24 Assembly seats spread over 4 districts in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s assertion that the TRS would repeat its feat of GHMC success in the current Assembly polls cannot be taken lightly.
In the GHMC elections, held in February 2016, TRS had scored an unprecedented victory, bagging 99 out of the 150 divisions in the metropolis. AIMIM came a distant second with 44 divisions while the Congress, Telugu Desam Party and BJP were virtually routed. Congress got a measly two divisions while the TDP could win a single division. BJP had the consolation of getting just 4 divisions. The TRS had claimed that it would hit a century but it fell one short of it as it lost one division—Jambagh—to AIMIM by a mere 5 votes.
In 2014 assembly elections, TDP and BJP had an alliance while the Congress and TRS fought on their own. Out of the 24 Assembly seats in the GHMC area, the TDP-BJP alliance secured 14 seats (TDP 9 and BJP 5) and TRS could get only three seats. AIMIM retained its 7 seats and the Congress literally drew a blank. The Congress finished at third place in many of these constituencies. At the time of the GHMC elections, many of the TDP MLAs were still with their party. After the TDP-BJP alliance’s debacle in the GHMC, barring one, all the other TDP MLAs from GHMC area crossed over to the TRS.
Now, the TRS, BJP and Mahakutami, comprising, Congress, TDP, TJS and CPI—are contesting all the assembly seats in the GHMC area. AIMIM is in the fray in 8 assembly segments, including Rajendranagar. BJP, on the one hand, and Mahakutami, on the other, is making last-ditch efforts to swing the electorate in these 24 constituencies to their side. TRS seems to be sitting pretty in 16 constituencies. The pink party is locked in a four-cornered fight with AIMIM in Rajendranagar while the AIMIM is poised to ward off BJP and Mahakutami’s attack and retain the seven seats with ease.
In the GHMC polls, TDP-BJP alliance and the Congress faced unprecedented rout, since the electorate reposed confidence in TRS and gifted the ruling party with 99 divisions. TRS secured 43.9 percent vote-share in the GHMC, with the TDP-BJP alliance coming a distant second with their tally of 23.4 percent votes (TDP 13.1 percent and BJP 10.3 percent). The AIMIM, which contested in 60 divisions, accounted for a vote-share of 15.8 percent. The Congress ended up getting only 10.4 percent of the valid votes.
The results were an eye-opener since four of the five BJP MLAs in the GHMC could not ensure the victory of a single candidate in their divisions. In fact, in the entire Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency area, the BJP drew a blank, though its sitting MP and then union minister Bandaru Dattatreya campaigned extensively alongwith TDP leaders. The Congress could not win a single division in entire Hyderabad district while it got one division each in Rangareddy and Medak districts. TDP and BJP secured one division each in Rangareddy. BJP got three divisions in the Old City of Hyderabad.
If the GHMC poll data is analysed assembly segment-wise, the TRS had secured much higher percentage of votes than its rivals in 18 assembly segments, including Malakpet. Its vote share was higher than the TDP-BJP’s combine in all the constituencies where this alliance had won in the previous Assembly elections. This became possible as the TRS virtually grabbed the vote-banks of the BJP and TDP among the majority community and the Congress among the minorities. AIMIM held its share of the votes and 10 to 15 percent of the minority voters in the seven AIMIM-held constituencies and 80 to 90 percent in the other 17 constituencies voted massively for the TRS.
GHMC, with its Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, is a cosmopolitan city and it is home to people from all over the country, including the Hindi heartland and states such as Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The number of resident from the North-East and West Bengal is also significant. However, it is the people from the Seemandhra regions (now residuary Andhra Pradesh) who are preponderant. Muslims make up about 30 percent of the electorate in the GHMC area. The Seemandhra residents account for another 20 percent of the voters.
This 50 percent chunk of voters (Muslims and Seemandhra residents) are poised to play a decisive role in determining the fate of all the major contenders—- TRS, AIMIM, Mahakutami and BJP. If these preponderant sections do not succumb to the propaganda of the Mahakutami and BJP, they may give a massive mandate to the TRS in the GHMC area, with the AIMIM retaining its seven seats and even wresting the extra one that it is contesting.