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The Message from Hyderabad

The BJP has put up a tremendous show in the greater Hyderabad civic polls, winning 48 of the total 150 seats. The party came second in the elections after the TRS, which had its tally cut to 56 from the 99 it had earlier.The BJP‘a performance is all the more significant as it had only four members in the outgoing council.The Congress continued its dismal show in the local body, failing to add even one seat to its earlier tally of two seats.The AIMIM retained its strength of 44 seats, winning its traditional Muslim dominated areas in the city.

More important than the twelve fold increase in the BJP strength in the council from four to 48 members is the way in which the party forged the victory. The most remarkable feature of its campaign was its targeting of the AIMIM, more than the TRS, the ruling force in the council as well as the Telangana state.The heavy weights employed by the BJP in the election campaign attacked the AIMIM as symbolic of the Nizam era. The attempt clearly appears to have been to polarise the voters along communal lines.The BJP heavyweights, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and party president J P Nadda pushed this plank relentlessly during the election campaign.

The Congress was almost nonexistent during the election campaign. The party’s central leadership appears to have left the local leaders to their own devices. The party appears to have decided not to expend its resources in a lost cause.Opposition parties can ignore the message from Hyderabad at their own peril only. The Hyderabad council elections show that the Narendra Modi dispensation is going to increasingly employ the polarisation card to win elections.The spate of laws being brought in different BJP ruled states to curb so-called love Jehad are a straw in the wind.

The opposition would do well to come up with an effective strategy to counter the BJP game-plan. Otherwise, the Congress and other opposition parties can just write off their prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections in different states.The opposition cannot just depend on the farmers to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.


(Political Analyst)

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