‘Settlers’ and Muslims hold the aces in Hyderabad

Hyderabad
4 Dec 2018

Muslims and the "settlers" from the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh are likely to play a crucial role in the electoral fortunes of the candidates in 24 constituencies falling under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
In the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had won nine seats, Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) seven, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) five and Telangana's ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had won three seats. The TDP and the BJP were in an alliance in 2014. For the upcoming Telangana Assembly polls, the N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP has struck an electoral pact with the Congress. In the December 7 election, all the nine MLAs of the TDP, who had left the party subsequently, are contesting on TRS tickets.
Naidu has been campaigning vigorously in the region for the candidates of the Congress-led "Praja Kutami" or the grand alliance, also comprising the TDP, the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI). Naidu has also addressed poll meetings along with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the GHMC areas, which have over 40 lakh voters. The AIMIM, which counts the old city as its stronghold, has fielded eight candidates in the region and is supporting the TRS in the remaining seats. The K Chandrasekhar Rao-led TRS has described the AIMIM as a "friendly party" and said it would have "friendly contests" in the seats where the Owaisi-led party has fielded its nominees.
AIMIM MLC Syed Aminul Hasan Jafri said Muslims constituted 12.7 per cent of Telangana's population and in the 24 constituencies in the GHMC areas, it was 30 per cent. "The Congress's tie-up with the TDP, which was a BJP ally until recently, may not gel well with the Muslim voters. Not only that, since the beginning, not many members of the minority community have voted for the TDP. (PTI)