Hyderabad: The battle for supremacy in the
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) took a new hue
just a few hours ahead of the scheduled polling tomorrow with
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah throwing a challenge,
at the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party, that he would
quit his post if the latter secured “even one seat more” than
the ruling Congress, out of the total 150 seats.
The Telugu Desam Party, however, did not take the
challenge citing the model code of conduct but said people
would have to sympathise with the Chief Minister on November
26, the day of counting, implying that they would win the
prestigious GHMC elections.
What impact Rosaiah’s offer (to quit the Chief Minister’s
post) will have on the GHMC poll is debatable as the election
is mostly fought on local issues. In fact, the Telugu Desam
Party – which enjoyed a majority along with BJP in the
erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad – fought the GHMC
election with the slogan of “restoring Hyderabad’s lost glory”
while the Congress made development its poll plank.
The illegal iron ore mining issue, based on which the
Chief Minister threw a challenge at the principal opposition
TDP, actually had nothing to do with the GHMC election. But
the ruling Congress attributed motives to the TDP that it was
trying to gain political mileage by raising the illegal mining
“The TDP is devoid of any election issue and as such
raked up the illegal mining row to regain lost confidence
among voters,” Congress MLC Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy and
The TDP rebutted the claim saying they had been fighting
over the illegal mining issue for the past many years. “Our
fight against the mining mafia intensified now as we got fresh
evidence of its illegal activities. The GHMC elections were
only incidental,” TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy pointed out.
Being a local body election, all opposition parties like
TDP, BJP, Praja Rajyam, CPI, CPM and Lok Satta Party largely
highlighted the local problems like worsening living
conditions in Hyderabad, the traffic chaos, growing pollution,
bad condition of roads, drainage, sanitation and public
The ruling Congress harped mostly on the theme
of developing Hyderabad into a “global city” comparing its
development since 2004 with that prior to it.
In fact, bogged down by severe internal bickering, the
Congress was clearly caught on the back foot in the
campaigning till Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, son of late
Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, hit the campaign trail
in the last two days.
The Congress is also facing “rebel trouble” in at least
30 places which could mar its electoral prospects.
Against this backdrop, the Chief Minister’s open
challenge to the principal opposition has left some of the
senior Congress leaders baffled. “Not that we will do badly
but what if something goes wrong? After all, it’s the local
issues that dictate the outcome of a local body election and
it’s difficult to predict the result exactly,” one senior
Congress MP remarked.
Another said the Chief Minister should have linked his
challenge to the Mayor’s post rather than the number of
corporator seats since the Congress could comfortably win the
post given the “bench strength” (the ex-officio members) it
has and the possible support it could muster from “friendly”
parties like MIM and PRP.
Though they are not outwardly expressing it, Jagan’s
supporters in the Congress here are filled with glee over the
Chief Minister’s challenge, for obvious reasons. “Rosaiah’s
loss could well become Jagan’s gain,” they hope.
The anxiety continues till November 26.