(M P Rabindernath)
Major political parties are assessing their strengths, working on their strategies and are all geared up for the ‘battle’ to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. A lot of pride is at stake for the ruling Telangana Rashtriya Samithi in this prestigious elections. The TRS, however, is more than confident of winning a major chunk of the 150-member GHMC and thus the Mayor’s post.
Though buoyed by the resounding win in the Warangal bye-poll, the TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will not leave any stone unturned to capture the prestigious GHMC, which would help pave way for him to go for the final kill by seeking by-elections to more than half a dozen assembly constituencies, due for more than a year now. All those who won either on Telugu Desam party ticket or Congress in the 2014 elections have crossed over to the ruling party causing some concern.
Although, it is mandatory as per the new defection law that they should resign to their assembly seat and seek election afresh to fight and win on new party symbol, none followed the procedure. Indeed a crying shame on our politicians who want to cling to power come what may. They dont have any ethics.
Ironically, even the High Court refused to intevene when the parent parties like the TDP and Congress knocked its doors for justice as even the Assembly Speaker was not ‘suspending’ them applying the anti-defection law.
Two of those defectors from TDP were also accommodated in the KCR cabinet. They are Talasani Srinivas Yadav (Sanathnagar) and Tummala Nageswar Rao (Khammam). Both should have resigned and sought re-election, but chose to continue in the cabinet unabashedly.
The ruling TRS, which could not fare well in the city in 2014 elections, would like to test its strength in GHMC peripheries, from where two TDP MLAs joined them – Talasani Srinivas Yadav (Sanathnagar) and Sayanna (Secunderabad-Cantonment).
KCR and his party is confident of capturing the GHMC elections. KCR’s son and Panchayatraj and IT Minister K T Ramarao, has already kicked up the election campaign. He is cleverly targeting the ‘Andhra settler areas” by promising them protection. On his part, the Chief Minister had not only announced slew of promises, including water and power bill waiver, but also property tax, apart from others. Some roads have been recarpeted. A few complexes have been supplied with green and blue dust bins. Promises have been made to complete the Metro Rail phasewise and construct more flyovers. The TRS has made an earnest start, but there is no proper monitoring. A few 2-BHK flats has been given but what about the other allotees? Since this is a municipal election civic issues, like roads, sanitation, basic amenities like urinals, night shelters for homeless, stray dog menace, power and water cuts, mosquitoes, cutting down ageold trees are all likely to be in focus when the people go to vote.
To avoid any embarrassment, the TRS government also amended the GHMC rules to prevent their opponents from moving court and get stay on the pretext of insufficient time to complete the election process.
The High Court had set January 31 to the TRS government to complete the poll process of GHMC as the government promised to fulfill its obligations before December 15, including declaration of reservation wards. Reasons best known to the government that did not happen and government in a clear move is determined to adhere to the Court directive and complete poll process before the set deadline. By amending rules and shortening time frame – from filing nominations to scrutiny to withdrawal – the Opposition though feel this is unjustified as the required mandatory period is 45 days, yet the TRS government quote the AP Reorganization Bill, which gives such powers to the new state, wanted to derive maximum advantage in the polls.
Initially though the Opposition appear weak and had given up hopes, are now gearing up to give a good fight to the ruling TRS and cause some embarrassment.
TDP: The TDP, which continue to enjoy considerable influence on Andhra settlers who may play crucial role in more than 4-5 assembly constituencies in twin cities under which more than 30-40 wards fall, would not like to give up fight. Though, the leadership thought of giving up the fight by dropping hints that the leadership would like to leave the campaign management entirely onto young Lokesh, son of Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, now redrawn its plans a fresh. Not only Chandrababu Naidu himself going to address a massive rally at Nizam College, but also toying with the idea to rope in Pavan Kalyan to help it win couple of seats.
The TDP, which will be fighting the GHMC polls with BJP alliance, wanted Andhra settlers not to fall a prey to the ‘fake’ promises of TRS. During its campaign, the TDP would not only like to remind them how some fringe elements of TRS attacked their properties, but also sent out stern warnings. The party’s target to win: 15-20 wards, the least (End up winning 8-10 wards)
BJP: The party local leadership would like concentrate on their strong pockets within the city and work hard to further consolidate their position there, but also take TDP help to garner some Andhra settler votes. Target: 20-30 (May win 15-20)
Congress: Though looks a divided house with one of its local leader Danam Nagender trying to join TRS, but failed, is banking heavily on minority votes, especially the Christians and other state settlers, especially, in Secunderabad division. Party leadership has apparently reposed some confidence on one its senior leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy, who lost assembly elections in 2014 to then TDP candidate Talasani Srinivas Yadav, trying hard to help party win 20-30 wards in Secunderabad division. That would help him fight the bypolls whenever they are held.
Interestingly, news reports suggest, senior Congress leader from city, Danam Nagender, who made efforts to join TRS and failed, now wants to help parent Congress party win 15-20 wards to bargain after polls with TRS, if the latter falls short of figures for absolute majority in the Corporation’s Council. Target: 25-30. (May win 8-10 wards)
TRS: The party, which chose not to fight the last GHMC polls, is now determined to win maximum number of seats. In reality, it cannot win 30-40 (since being in power), the party is making all out efforts poaching winnable candidates belonging to major Opposition parties like the Cong, TDP and BJP, besides MIM. It is well aware that the T-sentiment will not work on urbanites, its major focus is now on municipalities which were incorporated into the GHMC, to win maximum and the Andhra settlers divisions. Target: 100 (May end up winning 50-60 wards)
YSRCP: The party which contested last general elections and contested couple of seats, especially in city, is also confident to win couple of wards to make its presence felt in GHMC. It is solely depending on minority Christians and Muslims, besides other weaker sections. Target: 10-15 (May end up winning only couple of seats. If it gets into double figure, then it will be big news. Many feel, YSRCP decision to field candidates is only to help the ruling TRS, splitting the minority votes where it form around 10-15 per cent.
MIM: It set to retain its strongholds and win 40-45 wards. Although news reports suggest that the party leadership decided to help Opposition parties like the Congress and TRS by asking their community in non-Muslim dominated areas, many suspect it might have entered into clandestine agreement with the ruling TRS. But, in their own interests, the MIM leadership efforts would be to prevent TRS winning few seats lesser than them to stake claim for Mayor’s post. If that doesn’t happen, then it may settle to play second fiddle, sharing the Mayor and deputy Mayors posts, like with the Congress in the past. Target:50-60. (End up winning 40-45 wards)