Hyderabad : The guns fell silent to undoubtedly the bitterest local body elections in Hyderabad at the conclusion of campaign on Sunday evening. As never in the past, the campaign for GHMC polls witnessed communal polarisation to the maximum extent with the BJP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen throwing challenges freely at each other. Close on the heels of its victory in Dubbak Assembly by-election, the BJP was on the upswing compared to previous polls but how much its strength would reflect in end-result was premature to predict because there were 45 eligible ex-officio members who could call the shots in the indirect election of the Mayor.
In the direct election by public, of course, the BJP would have won a moral victory if it could not wrest the Mayorship. The rise of BJP was also attributed to the decimation of the Congress. The ruling TRS found itself on the defensive in the matrix as, hitherto, its hand of friendship to AIMIM, though not in this election because both their candidates were in fray in over forty divisions, yielded space for the BJP to consolidate the majority vote bank. Barring a common charge against the BJP and AIMIM for trying to vitiate a peaceful atmosphere, the TRS did nothing to distance itself from the latter party. It, therefore, appeared that the battle was between TRS and AIMIM on one side and the BJP on the other. Also, the distribution of flood relief of Rs. 10,000 which was suspended without covering all families could impact its fortunes.
The freebies given by TRS government, mainly drinking water and property tax relief, were neutralised by the communal divide of people, sources said. On the other hand, the Congress and the Telugu Desam left their winning chances to the potential of their candidates to swim against the tide. The BJP roped in its national president J.P. Nadda, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Jawadekar and Smriti Irani besides a few other national leaders realising that the TRS politics in this election could be a game changer in future. By making deep inroads in Hyderabad, the party saw an opportunity to capture power in the State in next general elections. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao minced no words in criticising the presence of top guns from the BJP. The BJP threatened to convert the old city into Bhagyanagar even as its leaders, including Amit Shah, offered prayers at Bhagyalaxmi temple beside Charminar.