The elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) this time are going to be a real tough fight between the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Both the pink party and the saffron party have one main target – marginalise if not decimate the Congress in the elections so that they can have better advantage in the next general elections, which according to political circles, will be held towards end of 2022.

The recent victory of the BJP in the Dubbaka by-election has given a new fillip to the party and it has decided to go aggressive during the GHMC polls and has already started deploying its cadre in every ward who would be going to people with the slogan “Mana Hyderabad, Mana BJP (Our Hyderabad, Our BJP). It would promise to provide basic amenities to the public and for that it would tell the people that there should be a Mayor from the BJP.

The target for the Telangana BJP is to win maximum seats as it can, retain Hyderabad MLC seat and focus on Khammam and Warangal municipal elections. It is also trying to make a big issue out of what it alleges suppression of voters’ rights by manipulating voters list by the ruling TRS. The TRS, on the other hand, is making strategic moves to woo the voters and a day after Deepavali, it announced reduction in property tax by 50 percent for the people living under GHMC limits.

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It also announced to increase operating 50 percent more RTC buses and pay 50 percent salary cut that was imposed on the employees during lockdown period. It has also decided to go to people with the progress report of which ward member had done what during his tenure as corporator. It proposes to showcase how it has been able to create new assets like community halls, basti dawakhanas, laid roads and its success in preventing the spread of Covid-19 even in slum areas and the “generous” help of Rs 10,000 per family to the people who were affected by recent massive and unprecedented floods more by sewage water than rainwater as immediate relief.

This election gains importance and is likely to turn campaign interesting as the State BJP president Bandi Sanjay and the TRS working president and Minister for Municipal Administration K T Rama Rao have gone into hyperactive mode. The TRS also had a meeting with AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi. While the TRS had won 99 out of 150 divisions, the AIMIM had won 44 divisions in the last elections. The TRS has prepared an action plan to make the MLAs visit various areas under the GHMC. He has also appointed in-charges for various divisions in the city.

The TRS candidates will be going from door to door showing proof of various developmental works they had done during their tenure. KTR has been holding meetings with various caste, religious and social groups and is seeking their support in the upcoming elections. Not just that, the candidates who are to be given another chance to contest have also been decided though no official announcement has been made yet.

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The candidates who are sure of second term have started their campaign activities. Based on the intensive survey results, KTR is said to have initiated corrective measures in various wards. He has identified the problems in several localities and is trying to address them. Another strategy is to lure grassroots level leaders from other parties into the TRS.

‘Baldia Bali Kaun’, has become important issue because the GHMC is the civic corporation body that is responsible for overseeing the metropolitan city of Hyderabad, the most happening city in the State of Telangana.

It is one of the largest municipal corporations in India with a population of 10,004,000 people and an area of 650 km² and as of the year 2019, it had a financial budget of Rs 5,380 crores. In fact, it will be nothing short of a mini general election.

Meanwhile, the BJP has accused the State Election Commission of being a “puppet” of the government for deciding on a date which is convenient for the TRS.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls will be held on December 1, the State Election Commission (SEC) announced. The polls will be conducted through ballot boxes. Results will be declared on December 4. The nomination of candidates will be accepted from tomorrow, November 17. The last date for the nomination is November 20, the SEC said.

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The GHMC has 74,04,286 voters comprising 38,56,770 male, 35,46,847 female and 669 voters in the ‘others’ category. The corporation has 150 wards and polling will be held in 9,248 centres. The election commission had already announced the introduction of e-voting on a pilot basis for select voters in view of the coronavirus pandemic. In 150 polling booths, the election commission is also experimenting with facial recognition.

The nominations will be scrutinised on November 21. Last date for withdrawing nomination is November 22.

Subsequently, the BJP has slammed the decision of the State Election Commission, accusing it of being a “puppet” in the hands of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The party alleged that the SEC announced the polling dates which were “politically convenient” to the TRS party.

“Election Commission is an independent institution and is supposed to function without any external intervention. However, Telangana State Election Commission seems to be running on whims and fancies of KCR and his party TRS. BJP strongly denounces the method of functioning of SEC in Telangana. Announcement of poll dates politically convenient to the TRS party has become a regular practice in the state.” BJP chief spokesperson K Krishna Saagar Rao alleged.

The BJP said that they will complain to the Central Election Commission over the SEC’s “questionable style of functioning”. Krishna Saagar said, “Current method of functioning jeopardises the democratic spirit and integrity of the election process.” #KhabarLive #hydnews