TRS candidates, with support from the AIMIM, win Mayor, Deputy Mayor’s posts in Hyderabad

Published : February 11, 2021 23:28 IST

The new Mayor of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Gadwal Vijayalaxmi (left) and the new Deputy Mayor Mote Sri Latha Sobhan Reddy, in Hyderabad on February 11. Photo: NAGARA GOPAL

The biggest losers in the February 11 elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On the face of it, the saffron party did not have the numbers, but in the run-up to the elections it seemed confident of creating the numbers as it has done in similar situations elsewhere in the past. The fact that this did not happen saw an angry BJP lash out at the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), its political rivals in Telangana. The two parties came together to thwart the BJP’s plans.

The BJP had, throughout the GHMC election campaign, accused the TRS of having a secret alliance with the AIMIM, calling the two parties conjoined twins, and claimed that it stood vindicated. Said the BJP in a statement: “The cat is finally out of the bag. This [Mayor’s] election finally unravelled publicly the seven-year-old secret alliance between the TRS and the AIMIM. The TRS would not have won half the seats if it would have [publicly] announced this alliance [with the AIMIM] prior to the GHMC elections.”

Notwithstanding the BJP’s fury and their corporators’ shrill cries of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, which saw the presiding officer requesting them to maintain decorum in the house, in a relatively peaceful election, Gadwal Vijayalakshmi of the TRS was elected the first citizen of Hyderabad, while Mote Sri Latha Sobhan Reddy was elected as the Deputy Mayor. Vijayalakshmi who is a two-time corporator from the Banjara Hills constituency, is also the daughter of senior TRS leader and Rajya Sabha member K. Keshavarao. Vijayalakshmi’s Backward Caste (BC) tag — she hails from the Munurukapu caste — certainly went a long way in her being elevated to the top job. Sri Latha Sobhan Reddy represents Tarnaka constituency in the GHMC. Both corporators won by a show of hands. The BJP had nominated the R.K. Puram corporator Veerannagari Radha as its mayoral candidate and Shanker Yadav as deputy mayoral candidate.

With the December election to the 150-member GHMC throwing up a fractured mandate, none of the three main political parties had the numbers to decide who will ascend the posts. the people fon their own who would ascend the posts. While the TRS had triumphed in 56 wards, the BJP and the AIMIM had won 48 and 44 seats respectively. The TRS, therefore, sought the support of the AIMIM. A tweet from AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, appreciating the TRS for offering the AIMIM the Deputy Mayor’s post (which it declined to accept) gave the BJP more ammunition to fire with.

BJP leaders speaking to Frontline drew attention to the fact that during the GHMC campaign both the parties had denied any pre- or post-poll arrangements. The BJP leaders quoted Telangana Urban Development Minister K. Tarakarama Rao who had asserted on many occasions that the TRS did not have a secret arrangement with the AIMIM, nor would it have a formal alliance ever. The AIMIM’s supremo Asaduddin Owaisi, too, refuted any suggestions of an arrangement. “It has now been proven that all this was a lie,” said a BJP legislator.

Speaking to the media after being elected the Mayor of the GHMC, Vijayalakshmi said: “I feel very proud, I thank both Chief Minister K. Chandreshekar Rao and KTR for choosing two women. There are many things I want to concentrate on. As a woman, I promise complete safety for women in Hyderabad. Be it roads, drainage, etc., there are many issues. We will address all these issues. I have a vision.”