Hyderabad :In the lead-up to the Telangana Assembly elections, the political landscape is heating up, with all eyes focused on the capital city, Hyderabad. The sprawling metropolis, comprising 24 segments in the 119-member assembly, holds a crucial sway in the electoral battle. As the ruling BRS party and opposition parties vie for the electorate's favour, the contest revolves around key issues such as civic infrastructure, job creation, and the state of law and order.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits encompass 15 seats with a staggering 45.37 lakh voters, while the adjoining areas boast nine more seats, attracting over 50 lakh electors. In the 2018 assembly polls, the BRS secured a majority of seats, with the AIMIM, led by Asaduddin Owaisi, winning seven seats, particularly dominating the southern part of the city. Notably, the BJP managed to clinch victory in Goshamahal, represented by T Raja Singh.
With nearly 30 percent of the state's total 3.26 crore voters concentrated in this region, political parties are leaving no stone unturned in their outreach efforts. Rallies, roadshows, pada yatras, and corner meetings have become the order of the day, as parties strive to connect with the diverse electorate.
The BRS party, currently in power, is emphasizing its achievements in Hyderabad. Their campaign highlights improved civic infrastructure, job creation, and a purportedly "well-maintained" law and order situation. Minister K T Rama Rao pointed out that the IT industry workforce in the state has surged to nearly nine lakhs, a substantial increase from the three lakhs recorded in 2014. He further claimed that Hyderabad has outstripped Bengaluru in generating IT jobs.
BRS spokesperson Sarvan Dasoju echoed these sentiments, citing the city's "global" status attributed to its law and order, youth employment opportunities, and excellent civic infrastructure. When questioned about concerns such as waterlogging during the monsoon season, Dasoju downplayed them as isolated incidents, asserting that the overall development in the city over the past decade is evident.
Contrarily, the BJP alleges that the BRS government diverted funds earmarked for civic infrastructure and neglected comprehensive development. BJP spokesperson NV Subhash contends that while flyovers have been constructed, crucial choke points persist, and the city's centre is being neglected. Journalist and political analyst S Nagesh Kumar dismiss the government's claim of global city status as a "one-street affair," pointing to persistent issues like flooding during the monsoons and inadequate infrastructure planning.
Kumar emphasizes the disproportionate focus on the western part of Hyderabad, leaving the central area congested. He notes that improper infrastructure planning exacerbates issues, particularly regarding the drainage system. As the city grapples with these challenges, political leaders intensify their campaigns to sway voters.
Prominent figures such as BJP national chief J P Nadda, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, and BRS working president KT Rama Rao have conducted roadshows to engage with the city's voters. Nadda, on November 19, led a roadshow in Hyderabad as part of the BJP's campaign, supporting the party's candidate from Malkajgiri, N Ramchander Rao. Meanwhile, KT Rama Rao opted for a more personal approach, indulging in local delicacies at a food joint and engaging in light-hearted conversations with citizens.
In the southern parts of the city, Asaduddin Owaisi, the AIMIM leader, has been actively canvassing for his party's candidates through corner meetings and door-to-door interactions. With the battle lines drawn, the electorate in Hyderabad holds the key to shaping the political landscape in Telangana. As the campaign rhetoric intensifies, the citizens grapple with the decision of choosing a party that can truly address the city's multifaceted challenges and lead it towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.