BJP trounced in Maharashtra MLC elections, but surges in Hyderabad

Deeply communal campaigning in Hyderabad; Amit Shah targeted Nizam culture, Adityanath raised demand to change city’s name to Bhagyanagar


The BJP has managed to win only one seat in the recently concluded elections for six seats for Members of Legislative Council (MLC) in Maharashtra. Biennial elections were held on December 1 for five legislative council seats – three graduates’ and two teachers’, as well as by-poll for one local body seat.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) or grand alliance won four MLC seats; Aurangabad, Nagpur and two seats in Pune. An independent candidate won in Amravati, while BJP only won the Dhule-Nadurbar local body seat where by-polls were held.

The biggest blow came when BJP lost in Nagpur that has been a stronghold of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for several decades. To add insult to injury, it was Congress that won the Nagpur seat. Devendra Fadnavis told mediapersons, “The results of Maharashtra Legislative Council polls are not as per our expectations. We were expecting more seats but won only one. We miscalculated the combined power of the three parties.”

However, the party made huge gains in Hyderabad in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections. Though the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the party of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, won 56 of the 150 wards, the BJP managed to win 49 seats, and the AIMIM 44. Compare this to the previous election when BJP won only 4 seats and the TRS got 99, and the AIMIM 44.   

Telangana minister KT Rama Rao, who is also the Chief Minister’s son, told NDTV, “The result is not what we expected. We fell short by 20-25 seats than our expectations. 10-12 seats saw a margin of less than 200 votes. There’s nothing to be disappointed, we will be the single largest party.”

This sudden emergence of BJP in a state where it has hitherto been virtually non-existent, is likely to have an impact on the 2023 Telangana Legislative Assembly elections. It is important, at this point, to take note of the deeply communal campaigning that took place in the run up to this election.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah while addressing a campaign rally had promised to “free Hyderabad from Nawab, Nizam culture.”



Pakistan and Mohammed Ali Jinnah were brought up repeatedly during the campaign. The controversial issue of changing Hyderabad’s name to Bhagyanagar was also raised.

Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath while campaigning in the city had asked, “When BJP came to power in UP, we renamed Faizabad Ayodhya, we renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj, so why can’t Hyderabad go back to its original name… Bhagyanagar?”

Adityanath also tweeted about it as did several other BJP leaders:



What needs to be pointed out though is how the Election Commission did not take any action against or even raise concerns about such blatantly communal campaigning.

According to the Election Commission of India’s own Model Code of Conduct, “There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.”

But Hindustan Times reported that Amit Shah “visited the Bhagyalakshmi Temple in Old City area of Hyderabad to offer prayers and held a roadshow from Warasiguda in Secunderabad to Sitaphalmandi before addressing his party workers.” Though Shah appeared to dodge the bullet on rule violation by not holding any actual campaigning in the temple premises, can visiting a temple before holding a roadshow not be seen as making it a forum for election propaganda? 


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