Home / News / India /  Telangana municipal polls: Advantage TRS as Congress, BJP caught off-guard

HYDERABAD : The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) may have an easy sailing in the upcoming municipal elections in the state, as it has seemingly caught the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) off-guard. Both Congress and the BJP have filed 2,616 and 2,313 candidates for 3,052 wards, in 120 municipalities and 9 corporations.

The timing of the polls and the preparedness of the TRS has left both the opposition parties behind, as they have not been able to find enough candidates to contest in all the wards. The elections will be held on 22 January. The ruling party, led by chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR), has filed nominations for 2,972 wards. Other than this, a total of 3,749 independent candidates are also in the fray, out of the total 12,898 candidates.

A BJP leader from the state, who did not want to be quoted, conceded that the party was caught off-guard this time, indicating the reason BJP was not able to find enough candidates to contest in all the seats. How the saffron party performs will also be keenly watched by political observers, given that it managed to win four out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state during the 2019 general elections, and surprised everyone.

Ever since the general elections, the BJP has been claiming that is the only alternative to the TRS in Telangana to replace the Congress. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress won three seats, while the TRS managed to win nine, much lesser than what it was expecting.

However, the TRS had reasserted its dominance in the elections to the zilla parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTC) held after the general elections by winning a staggering 83% (449 out of 588 seats) of the ZPTCs. The Congress had won 75 ZPTCs. A senior TRS leader, who did not want to be quoted, said his party is confident of repeating a similar performance in the municipal elections.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said the ruling party will definitely be at an advantage, as local MLAs are expected to fund campaigns of candidates in the municipal polls. He pointed out that both the Congress and BJP had done poorly in the 2018 December state elections, where TRS won 88 seats, while the Congress won 19 (since then 12 have joined the TRS) and the BJP bagged just one seat.

“But it is understandable that the Congress and BJP have not fielded candidates in all the 3,000 plus seats, as both parties might be aware that their winning chances in those seats are lesser. There are multiple other factors for which the opposition is also not contesting all the wards," Reddy added.

The Congress has blamed the 'truncated' municipal elections schedule for not finding enough candidates for some of the divisions. “There was minimal or no time-gap between the date of notification and nomination, and therefore, the opposition parties could not finalise appropriate candidates," Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief and member of Parliament from Nalgonda seat N. Uttam Kumar Reddy said.

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