Counting of votes to determine the winner of the high-stakes Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has begun. Image Credit: AFP

Hyderabad: In a fiercely fought election ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has emerged as the single largest party in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) even as BJP delivered a shocker by winning nearly one third of seats.

As TRS was reduced to 56 seats, far less than required 75 to cross halfway mark it would be forced to look for support from the All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen which retained its hold over the Olen’s city. The Muslim party won as many seats as in 2016.

Polling for 150 member GHMC was held on December 1 and counting was taken up on Friday morning.

GHMC results
Total seats 150
TRS 56
BJP 46
MIM 43
Congress 3
One result awaited

From the results and the trends till Friday afternoon it was clear that the TRS was racing ahead as the number one party with the BJP following in the second position.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIIM) which contested 52 of the 150 GHMC wards has once again retained its hold on the Muslim dominated old city of Hyderabad and was likely to win as many seats as last time. Former Mayor Majid Hussain was the first MIM candidate to be declared winner from Mehdipatnam. In a big upset for the BJP, the MIM won Dattatreya Nagar division which falls in Goshamahal assembly constituency of controversial leader Raja Singh. One of MIM’s Hindu nominees Raj Mohan also won from Puranapul division.

As the counting of votes began at 30 locations and a total of 1,916 postal ballots were taken up for counting first, the supporters of the BJP burst into celebrations when trends showed BJP leading in as many 88 seats and the TRS falling far behind. But as the counting officials started opening the ballot boxes the trends reversed gradually putting the ruling party firmly ahead. The turnaround in the fortunes left many BJP leaders red faced as they had declared their victory in GHMC and said it will pave the way for the party to come to power in Telangana.

All time low

In the polling held on December 1, it looked like the city recorded an all time low voting. However after the polling in Old Malakpet division on Thursday the polling percentage increased and stood at much respectable 46.55 per cent, a shade better than last time.

Though it was just a civic body election, GHMC polls caught the attention of the entire country as the BJP pulled out all the stops in terms of resources and fielded all the top leaders except the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sensing an opportunity to trounce TRS, several BJP national leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, national president JP Nadda, Hindutva mascot and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned in the city. Even as they tried to rake up controversial issues like changing Hyderabad’s name to Bhagyanagar and alleging links of TRS with anti national elements and promising surgical strike on MIM stronghold in old city, the party could not realize its dream to capturing the GHMC. Amit Shah had promised that on coming to power BJP would end the “Nizam culture” in the city. It was first time in the country that so many national leaders campaigned in a city corporation election.

Vote share

However the result marked a setback for the TRS, which had won 99 of the 150 seats back in 2016. This time BJP wrested many of the seats and emerged as the main opposition in the Corporation. Congress on the other hand remained where it was by winning two seats so far but lost its vote share to the BJP. TDP, once a big political force in the city was completely wiped out this time.

In 2016 the TRS had polled 44 per cent of votes with 99 seats and AIMIM came second with 16 per cent of votes and 44 seats. TDP had come third with 13 per cent of votes and just 1 seat. BJP had polled 10 per cent of votes and four seats and Congress 10 per cent of votes and two seats.

With picture getting clear by the late afternoon, the BJP leaders and supporters turned sullen and celebrations started at the TRS headquarters. Folk dancers in colorful attire performed to celebrate party’s victory.

TRS working president K Taraka Rama Rao reacting to the results thanked the people for making TRS the single largest party. “There is nothing to be disappointed. We will analyse the results in the party”, he said. He pointed out that he TRS lost some of the seats with an extremely narrow margin.