Bharatiya Janata Party Telangana President Bandi Sanjay Kumar on Friday said that the party was ready to take power in state after its strong show in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections, The Indian Express reported. Assembly polls in Telangana are scheduled to take place in 2023.

BJP emerged as the second-largest party in the bitterly-fought election, with a tally of 48 seats. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi won 55 seats, but fell 21 short of the majority mark in the 150-ward civic body polls. Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen won 44 seats.

Kumar said that BJP was ready to come to power in Telanagana as the TRS had failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people. “KCR [K Chandrashekar Rao] and the TRS cannot take anything for granted now,” he added.

The Telangana BJP chief also said that the polls in Hyderabad signaled a bigger defeat for Rao’s son KT Rama Rao, who led TRS’ election campaign. “The BJP’s win in the November 10 Dubbaka by-election was the defeat of T Harish Rao, the nephew of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao,” he said. “The GHMC [Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation] polls have dealt a bigger defeat to KT Rama Rao, the son of the CM.”

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Senior TRS leader and Rao’s daughter K Kavitha, on the other hand, said that her party will be “one step ahead” in 2023, NDTV reported. “It is the BJP tactic to go aggressive everywhere,” she told the news channel in an interview. “We now understand BJP tactics. We will make sure we are one step ahead in 2023.”

She added: “We are not a weak party. We are a well-organised party. We have managed to put a stop to the BJP emerging as the largest party.” The senior TRS leader also said that Hyderabad had shown the country the way to stop BJP.

Despite the high-pitched campaign by nearly all parties, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls reported an unimpressive 46.55% turnout on Tuesday with 34.50 lakh people voting from a total of 74.67 lakh voters. The results were declared on Friday.

Even though the polls were for electing a city mayor, the intense campaign witnessed comments on Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, surgical strikes, allegations of Rohingya infiltrators and one focused on Hindu-Muslim narrative. “Once a BJP candidate wins the mayor post in these elections, there will be a surgical strike on patha basti [Old City],” Kumar had said. “It’s the BJP’s responsibility to kick out these Rohingyas and filthy sons of Pakistan.”

The BJP had brought in several heavyweights, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, for campaigning. Nadda had predicted that his party will win the election in Hyderabad and the victory will mark end of TRS in Telangana.