2020 recap: BJP's thrust to power in Telangana

2020 recap: BJP's dislodging of TRS; thrust to power in Telangana

BJP State President Bandi Sanjay celebrates during the counting day of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, in Hyderabad. Credit: PTI File Photo

BJP's emergence as the ruling TRS' main challenger, further decline of the Congress and nature's fury that unleashed an unprecedented deluge made 2020 an unforgettable year for the people of Telangana, which was also affected by the Covid-19 wave.

The world seemed to look up to this city for its vaccine solutions to fight the deadly coronavirus, manifested by the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and over 60 foreign envoys to different pharma labs here in a year when the infections peaked across the globe.

The vaccine development process by Bharat Biotech, Biological E Ltd and Aurobindo Pharma are currently in various stages,while Dr Reddy's and Hetero have tie ups to manufacture the antidote for one of the most feared contagions so far.

On the political front, BJP seemed to have gained the most in 2020, from its close, yet surprise win over incumbent TRS in Dubbak Assembly bypoll, following that up with a stupendous show in the GHMC elections.

The party invested every asset at its disposal to make inroads in Hyderabad, which has a significant number of Assembly seats up for grabs in the 2023 elections. Top party bosses-- national President J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, besides Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath hit the campaign trail for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections and the efforts paid rich dividends.

The BJP bagged 48 out of the total 150 wards, a sharp rise from the four it had won in the last city polls in 2016. The ruling TRS secured 56 wards, a major dip from its 2016 tally of 99, though it emerged as the single largest party, followed by the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM.

Bolstered by its success in the GHMC polls, BJP has now set its eyes on the 2023 Assembly elections, aiming to bring a second southern state under its kitty, after Karnataka. The party has one MLA in the present Assembly.

During the year, TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao slammed the NDA government at the Centre over its disinvestment in PSUs and alleged anti-farmer policies and announced a plan to convene a conclave of opposition leaders to fight on the issue.

The Congress, bruised and battered in the previous years following poor Assembly and Lok Sabha elections and defections of its MLAs to the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samiti, had little to cheer about in 2020.

The main opposition party could manage to win only two wards in the GHMC polls, an outcome that came as a further setback to the grand old party. Congress now faces the two-fold challenge of taking on the ruling TRS and a buoyant BJP to strengthen itself in the state.

With incumbent PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy resigning from his post following the party's poor show in the GHMC polls, the Congress is now dealing with the issue of appointing a successor to him.

AICC in-charge of party affairs in Telangana Manickam Tagore, a party Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, had held consultations in Hyderabad with as many as about 160 leaders, right from the district level, on choosing the new PCC head and submitted a report to party president Sonia Gandhi.

The TRS and the opposition clashed over the former's plans to construct a new Secretariat building, with both Congress and the BJP targeting the incumbent over the matter, though the ruling dispensation stood firm on its decision, even as the demolition of the old structure began.

It said the new complex is required to effectively cater to present day requirements and also as a symbol of prestige to the newly-formed state.

Hyderabad, an IT hub, was at the receiving end of nature's fury when torrential downpour led to a deluge of unseen proportions, with visuals of vehicles being washed away in gushing waters and flooded streets showing a grim picture of this famed city.

Besides wreaking havoc in the capital, the heavy rain in October caused crop losses at different places in Telangana. The state government had put the losses, as per preliminary estimates, at over Rs 5,000 crore. At least 70 people died in rain-related incidents in Hyderabad and other parts of the state.

Though Telangana was not spared of the Covid-19 impact, it, however, seemed to fare better compared to many other high prevalence states though the state government initially came under flak for its alleged low testing.

As of December 29, the tally of positive cases and fatalities in the state stood at 2.85 lakh and 1,535 respectively. The case fatality rate in the state was 0.53 per cent, while it was 1.4 per cent at the national level.

The recovery rate in Telangana was 97.36 per cent, while it was 95.9 per cent in the country, according to the latest government figures.

As preparations and measures for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine are underway across the world, Hyderabad is poised to emerge as a major supplier of the much needed antidote. As many as five firms based in the city are racing to bring out a vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad in November to review Covid-19 vaccine development work. Later in December, about 60 foreign envoys visited Bharat Biotech and Biological E in the city where they were apprised of the country's vaccine development programmes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Telangana and its sibling Andhra Pradesh, both known for their love for cinema, suffered a loss in September when their beloved son of the soil and legendary playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam fell prey to Covid-19 at a private hospital in Chennai.

The multilingual singer had crooned many hit Telugu numbers, endearing him to the masses of these two states, who speak the same language.