The GHMC consists of four districts, and its area has four MP and 24 MLA seats. It has about 18 lakh (1.8 million) voters, of which about four lakh are Muslims, mostly in the old Hyderabad city, which is AIMIM leader Owaisi’s stronghold. The Muslims will mostly vote for AIMIM, but what about the remaining 14 lakh, who are mostly Hindu?
There are 150 seats in the GHMC, of which in the 2016 elections KCR’s TRS got 99, AIMIM got 44, the BJP got four, and the Congress two. So it seems most Hindus voted for TRS. But since then the situation has changed. In the 2018 Telangana Assembly elections, the BJP got only 7 per cent votes with just 1 of the 119 seats (TRS got 88). But in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got four of the 17 Lok Sabha seats from Telengana (TRS getting 9, Congress 4, and AIMIM just 1), with 19 per cent of the votes in the state. Thus, in just one year, there has been a huge swing, and it seems many of the TRS Hindu voters have gone over to the BJP.
Communalism was always present in Hyderabad, but this GHMC election has raised it to a new level, with BJP campaigners calling Owaisi another Jinnah, and giving inflammatory speeches calling for “kicking out these Pakistanis and filthy Rohingyas”. Also, the victory of five AIMIM candidates in the Bihar elections has further polarised society.
West Bengal and Tamil Nadu elections are due in May next year, so the BJP has made the GHMC election as a crucible for the road ahead, and is pulling no punches.
Interesting times are ahead, with ‘bhagwakaran’ proceeding at full speed.
Justice Markandey Katju retired from the Supreme Court in 2011.
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