Over 74 lakh eligible voters are are eligible to vote today in the election to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation or GHMC. Polling began at 7 am. The election is taking place after more than a week of intense and vitriolic campaign. The civic body election is a high-stakes battle for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the BJP, trying to make inroads, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM. This has been the most fiercely and bitterly fought municipal elections ever in Hyderabad with a high-octane campaign by the BJP that flew in national leaders – like Amit Shah, JP Nadda and Yogi Adityanath – hoping to convince Hyderabad that a change was needed.
Here are the live updates on the Hyderabad municipal corporation election:
GHMC Elections 2020 LIVE Updates: GHMC, A Brief History
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation or GHMC was formed in April 2007 by merging 12 municipalities and eight gram panchayats with Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH). Four districts fall within GHMC limits, including Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Sangareddy.
GHMC Elections 2020 LIVE: Tight Security In Place
Hyderabad police chief Anjani Kumar had said security has been tightened in all areas. “Central and state forces are available in Hyderabad city. We have set up security at normal, sensitive, hypersensitive, and critical polling stations under the leadership of Inspector-level officers. Striking Force, Emergency Response Team will be available. Security has been set up at 293 hypersensitive pickets. We have set up six armed police teams at critical hypersensitive police centres,” he said.
GHMC Polls LIVE: Why These Polls Matter To BJP
The BJP sees the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election as a chance to carve out a space for itself in Telangana. In 2016, the party claimed just four of 150 seats as Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS swept 99. The BJP recently won the by-election to the Dubbak assembly constituency.
GHMC Elections LIVE: Ballot Voting, Not EVMs
The Telangana State Election Commission is conducting the election with ballot papers instead of EVMs because of the coronavirus crisis. Voter IDs or one of the 18 alternative photo identity can be shown. Elderly voters and women with children need not wait in queues. There’s no provision for online voting though postal ballots have been allowed.
Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao, who case his vote this morning, urged people to exercise their franchise.
GHMC Elections 2020 LIVE: 1,122 Candidates, 150 Divisions
1,122 candidates are contesting in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election. The election is taking place in 150 divisions spread over four districts.
GHMC Elections LIVE: Polling Arrangements
Detailed arrangements have been made for today’s voting by the Telangana State Election Commission with 48,000 polling personnel and 52,500 police personnel deployed.
Top BJP leaders who had campaigned for the Hyderabad civic body polls:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah,
BJP chief JP Nadda
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
G Kishan Reddy
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said after voting, “I appeal to the people of Hyderabad to cast their vote today to strengthen democracy.”
Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Polls: Union Minister G Kishan Reddy Votes
“Following all Covid Safety Protocols, cast my vote along with my family at Kachiguda Polling Station earlier this morning. Voting is our constitutional right and all of us must exercise it in the interest of an able administration,” Mr Reddy tweeted after casting his vote.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy waiting in a queue at Deeksha Model School in Kachiguda to cast his vote.