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GHMC Polls - Where parties stand and what they're upto?

The GHMC Elections in Telangana are garnering everyone’s attention. With BJP entering the fray and making the election a high voltage affair, let’s try to look at what can happen and what parties are doing in the process of convincing voters. 
 
In the 150 wards that exist in the GHMC limits, let’s try to look at the voters in four different segments. 

 
  1. Muslim Community 
  2. Telangana people who settled in Hyderabad 
  3. Seemandhra people who settled in Hyderabad
  4. People from other states who’ve settled in the city
 
1) Muslim community: They would choose MIM given that the party has garnered their votes over several years. For instance: If you see the Bihar elections, Majlis won 5 seats, all from the Muslim-dominated regions. Neither did Owaisi canvass much in the polls nor did the party push hard for its presence there, so it is clear that the Muslim community will choose MIM. The party is expected to get around 20-30 seats. 
 
2) Telangana people who settled in Hyderabad: This segment of voters though have the T-sentiment as a strong aspect guiding their decision, there is an anti-incumbency vote building against TRS in the state. This trend was clear from the Assembly Election of 2018 and the following Lok Sabha elections in 2019. While TRS won 88 out of 150 seats in the last GHMC elections, this time its target is 100 seats. With MIM’s friendship, TRS can increase its numbers through this segment of voters. But, the Dubbaka bypoll was a caution for TRS to watch its steps carefully. 
 
3) AP settlers in Hyderabad: This is one segment that has a very unpredictable voting pattern. But, given that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is contesting in the elections, it can use this segment very well. But, before that, it needs to find strong leaders, like Revanth, for itself in Telangana. I shall mention how in a party-wise strategy. 
 
4) Settlers from other states: This segment is composed of fence-sitters or those voting for BJP. Given that there is a liking for Modi among this class of educated, job-based people, these votes could sway towards the BJP because of the language gap and their challenge in understanding regional language or regional parties. 
 
Political parties' strategies 
 
1) When it comes to political parties, let’s start with TRS: Telangana Rashtra Samithi needs to have a strong research-based strategy for its people. It has to project the TRS party as one that extends beyond the Kalavakunlta family. There are rumours that KCR suppresses voices. So, it needs to get over this image and portray TRS as a party that belongs to all. Moreover, the voting percentage drop in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections for TRS is an indication to be more proactive. It needs to allow other rural leaders to emerge and speak on issues. Another point is the balancing equation with MIM. How it chooses to tread with the Muslim Community also matters. 
 
2) At this point, let’s look at the BJP: By winning 4 Lok Sabha and 2 Assembly seats, the BJP sees an opening in Telangana. It’s vote share increase from 7% in Assembly elections to around 20% in Lok Sabha elections indicates its growth. And, with the Dubbaka Bypoll, BJP has established itself as the main opposition in Telangana. Like Amit Shah mentioned that BJP’s next target is GHMC elections, the saffron party is proceeding in that direction. 
 
Now, BJP is using its Bihar strategy here, targeting around 30 seats, along with the prestigious Mayor post. Their point of target is TRS-MIM alliance and their message is: “If Muslims in Bihar have voted for MIM, then Hindus in Hyderabad can vote for BJP.” Its aim is to be the MIM of Hyderabad. 
 
Another point is how it convinced Jana Sena to withdraw from polls even after Pawan Kalyan announced they would contest. This slow suppression of Jana Sena is also an indication of how it is looking at “Akhand Bharat” strategy for itself, by stomping regional parties and their interests in states. Most importantly, their ground work is brilliant and that is why they are able to sell even the most ridiculous election promises so well. 
 
3) Let’s look at TDP: For TDP, this is a great time to rethink its strategy for Telangana and revive itself. Even if the party is considering GHMC elections as a test-bed for revival, it needs to ensure it creates enough propaganda against TRS and the BJP for not supporting both Telugu States with enough funds that they deserve. 
 
One - It needs to clarify its roots of why TDP was established as a party for Telugu people and is not against Telangana people. Second - It can use the IT crowd well for creating jobs in Hyderabad and bringing the city its global recognition. Three - It can show how TRS is opposing Polavaram which is very important for AP and portray BJP as the one that is not releasing funds for the State and as Jana Sena as the party that is supporting BJP in stopping AP and Telangana’s development…basically focussing on stopping the progress of Telugu People.  
 
So, if Jana Sena used their friendship with BJP and asked the High Command of BJP to first sanction funds for Polavaram and then told the BJP that he would support it in GHMC, only after it announced funds for AP and Telangana, his value among people would have grown. Another aspect is because the TRS is with MIM in Telangana, Seemandhra voters may not really sway towards TRS unless the party promises them promises of good infrastructure and urban amenities.
 
It can focus completely on portraying how TRS, BJP and Congress are putting their politics at the forefront rather than people’s interests. Additionally, TDP’s stronghold of BC community voter base still exists in Telangana. Though the party is weak here, it has strong cadre. So, it needs to be planned well. 
 
4) Congress Party: From weak leadership at the Central level to lack of good voices and disorientation within the party, everything seems to be going haywire for them. So, if they don’t get a hold of themselves quickly, these votes may go to the BJP which is waiting for every chance to increase its voter base in the state. 
 
Going by this information so far, it is clear that KCR and his party High Command needs to focus more on research-based propaganda and marketing strategies if it wants to seal the next Assembly elections with a comfortable majority. Given that there is enough time to increase their clout on ground, this is a good time to push their cadre to work diligently for 2023 state elections. 
 

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