BJP doubled its vote share in Telangana: Where exactly is it growing?

In 15 constituencies, including Nirmal, Sirpur, Kamareddy, LB Nagar and Secunderabad Cantonment, BJP’s vote share increased by over 20 percentage points.
Bandi Sanjay Kumar, G Kishan Reddy, T Raja Singh
Bandi Sanjay Kumar, G Kishan Reddy, T Raja Singh
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made significant gains in the Telangana 2023 Assembly elections, winning eight seats – one in Hyderabad and the rest in northern Telangana. Its vote share has doubled, from just 7% in 2014 and 2018 to 14% in 2023. BJP contested from 111 seats this time, leaving eight seats for its alliance partner, Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP), which fared poorly. In the 110 seats it contested in 2018 and 2023, the BJP has managed to increase its vote share in 97 seats. 

The highest rise in vote share has been in Nirmal (44 percentage points), Armur (31) and Sirpur (30), where the BJP candidates won. The BJP’s vote share went up in 12 other constituencies by 20 percentage points, including Huzurabad and Gajwel – where former BRS minister Eatala Rajender contested on a BJP ticket this time – Boath and Koratla where BJP fielded its MPs Soyam Bapu Rao and Dharmapuri Arvind, Quthbullapur, LB Nagar and Secunderabad Cantonment in and around Hyderabad, and Nizamabad (Urban), Mudhole and Kamareddy where the BJP managed to win this time. 

While the BJP won eight seats, it was also the runner-up in 18 seats. Eatala Rajender came in second in both seats he contested from – his former constituency Huzurabad and Gajwel. Controversial MLA Raja Singh, who is infamous for his anti-Muslim hate speeches, managed to retain Goshamahal and even managed to increase his vote share from 45% in 2018 to 54%. The two other BJP legislators who won bye-elections – M Raghunandan Rao in Dubbak and Eatala Rajender in Huzurabad – lost, while polling vote shares of 25% and 30% respectively in the constituencies they previously represented. 

Overall, places where BJP won and came in second are largely concentrated in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad, and Nirmal districts, which have a sizeable Muslim population among the highest district-wise proportions in the state according to the 2011 Census. While the party won only in Goshamahal in Hyderabad, it also emerged as the main opposition in constituencies in and around Hyderabad, such as Charminar, Karwan, LB Nagar, Rajendranagar, Amberpet, Quthbullapur and Sanathnagar. 

TNM has previously reported on the BJP’s attempts to mobilise Hindu youth, with a focus on regions like Nizamabad, Adilabad, Medak, Karimnagar, Rangareddy and Mahbubnagar, which have a relatively higher Muslim population. 

Read: How BJP and its affiliates are using Shivaji statues to mobilise BCs in Telangana

Political observers have partly attributed the rising popularity of the BJP in Telangana, especially the northern districts of Adilabad, Nirmal, and Nizamabad, to its attempts at communal polarisation. While the BRS government prided itself on effectively controlling communal tensions in the city since coming to power, Bhainsa in Nirmal district was one of the few places in Telangana to witness communal violence in recent years—in 2020 and again in 2021. 

On the day of the election results, commenting on BJP’s seat share rise, political observer Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said it was primarily due to consolidation of the Hindutva vote in seats where Congress failed to field a strong candidate. Apart from BRS’s failed promises to Dalits and tribal people in the northern districts, such as granting title deeds for podu lands and implementing the Dalit Bandhu scheme, he said that north Telangana has historically been a fertile ground for right-wing groups. “Efforts put in by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, and other groups created a pro-BJP ecosystem which has paid rich dividends in an election with a strong anti-incumbency wave,” he said. 

Karimnagar MP and former BJP state president Bandi Sanjay, who was upset over his narrow defeat in the Karimnagar Assembly constituency (by a margin of 1.4% or 3,163 votes), blamed Muslims for his loss. However, congratulating the public for voting out BRS, he also noted how his vote share had steadily increased over the years (28% in 2014, 33% in 2018, 39% in 2023). He also noted how BJP’s performance in various elections since 2018 has improved, be it the 2020 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections and other local body polls.

He said that Hindus must ponder over this defeat of a leader who has fought for “Hindu dharma.”

“I’ll leave it up to you, what you want to think,” he said, suggesting that Muslims had voted in favour of someone who had gone to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) headquarters, worn a white skullcap, and “touched the feet of the people with green flags.” While AIMIM did not contest in Karimnagar, Bandi Sanjay lost to BRS’ Gangula Kamalakar. BJP has repeatedly objected to BRS and AIMIM’s friendly relations with communal rhetoric.

Read: KCR and ‘Razakar’ Owaisi destroying Telangana, says Amit Shah

“Unfortunately, all the Muslims in Karimnagar have united. That AIMIM party is shameless. Muslims are supporting people who are occupying Waqf lands and demolishing Muslims’ houses. What is the Muslims’ goal?” he asked. “They [Muslim voters] have no integrity. They even ignored the advice of their community leaders at the national level. They united with the sole aim of defeating me.”

Read: How BJP managed to win eight seats in Telangana

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