GHMC election results gave almost a shocker to the ruling TRS party in Hyderabad. The party that had around 100 seats in previous elections and has boasted of winning 100+ seats out of the total 150 this time too, bit the dust and won only 55 seats. However, as it retained the tag of the single largest party and saved the face from further humiliation. But the surprising fact is that TRS, the party that advocated bifurcation, now got most of the winning seats from the areas where Seemandhra people stay. There is debate among political circles on the reasons for this.
Who are Settlers:
“Settlers” is the word popularized by KCR during the Telangana movement to galvanize the Telangana people towards the movement. As most of us know, there is no such word in the constitution of India, and article 19 of the constitution permits people to move across the country and reside anywhere in the country. Yet political parties advocating regionalism, including TRS, often provoke people by using the terms like ‘Son of Soil’ and ‘Settlers’. Such verbal attacks by KCR made the people of Seemandhra in Hyderabad restless during the Telangana movement.
Cut to GHMC election 2020, the same settlers saved TRS from a humiliating defeat in the hands of TRS. The ruling party got 55 seats in total in Hyderabad and out of those 33 seats came from these areas alone. Kukatpally, and Sherlingampally MLA constituencies voted hugely in favor of TRS despite the vigorous campaign of BJP.
Reason 1: Settler areas NOT severely impacted by recent floods:
The primary reason for the huge anti-vote for TRS this time is the failure in properly managing recent floods. The outskirts areas, where the houses were drowned and properties were damaged during floods, voted hugely in favor of BJP. It seems they want to teach the lesson to the government for its failure in handling the disaster. BJP’s propaganda that KCR did not visit any of these impacted areas struck a chord with those people
Reason 2: IT and ‘Real’ growth in these areas.
These are the people who initially worried about KCR becoming CM will be a bane. But after KCR was sworn in in 2014, these areas got benefitted immensely. The property prices in these areas got doubled, if not tripled or quadrupled, in these areas. KTR’s propaganda that 4 out of the top 5 IT companies are in Hyderabad had a profound impact here. The infrastructure in these areas grew leaps and bounds as many fly-overs, roads, and malls, started in the last 6 years in these areas. The only exception is the area of Gachibowl, where people from North India dominate, voted hugely in favor of BJP, thanks to Modi’s popularity among them.
Reason 3: General attitude of people in these areas Vs BJP’s aggressive campaigning
These areas are generally peaceful in Hyderabad, unlike the old city and Charminar areas that are considered sensitive. BJP’s propaganda of surgical strikes on Rohingya Muslims, campaigning on communal lines did not go well with the people of these areas. In fact, these people were against TRS during the movement also because of TRS’s aggressive nature at that time.
Reason 4: Political affiliations of Seemandhra people, indirectly helped KCR reap political fortunes
While all the above reasons are related to logic, this one is related to emotion. In fact, while voting emotion plays a more important role than logic. BJP is not a force to reckon with in AP yet. It lagged behind the NOTA in the 2019 elections of Andhra Pradesh. YSRCP, TDP, and Janasena are the top 3 parties in AP as per votes polled in 2019.
YSRCP did not contest in GHMC elections and extended tacit support to TRS. YSRCP Leaders like Posani openly supported TRS. Though he told it is his personal opinion, the cadres got their message.
TDP contested but got only 1.6% votes. 10 years ago all these areas are strongholds of TDP but the party now lost all its vote-bank. Even the hardcore fans of TDP felt that voting for TDP may not help anyone and it is better to choose TRS against BJP as, in their opinion, BJP’s central leadership is crushing TDP in AP.
Janasena is an official ally to BJP in AP. However, they too didn’t vote for BJP wholeheartedly as BJP did not allocate any seats to Janasena. In fact, BJP made Janasena withdraw their candidates and just support BJP without contesting. This decision pissed-off Janasena cadres.
Had BJP dealt with Janasena voters a little more carefully, it would have got a few more seats in these areas, as per the opinion of analysts.
Overall, this is a watershed moment for BJP in the politics of Telangana, as, for the first time in history, BJP got as many votes as the ruling party in any election to date. We need to wait and see whether BJP will be able to capitalize on this or TRS will bounce-back by tightening all the loose joints.
– ZURAN (@CriticZuran)