HYDERABAD: One factor that could decide the outcome of the Telangana polls is the turnaround in the minority vote preferences which is influenced by the Anti-BJP stance taken by the two main contenders in the state — the Bharat Rashtriya Samiti and the Congress. Issues like the Uniform Civil Code, and the Palestine conflict are also dominating the discourse among the community.
The Muslim support base is going to be extremely crucial for both the BRS and the Congress in the upcoming polls in Telangana. The Congress has made strong allegations, calling that the BRS and the BJP of having a tacit understanding with each other, while failing to deliver on promises made to the community, political developments have suggested that a section of minorities will shift towards the Congress in northern Telangana districts such as Nizamabad and Adilabad.
“There is indeed a wave in favour of the Congress in certain areas of the state. However, for the minority community, especially the Muslims there has been certain letdown from the BRS government such as not providing loans, development of few Dargahs, and a lack of quotas in the government sector. However, I will not say that there is discontentment prevailing among the entire community as KCR (K Chandrashekhar Rao) does have a secular image with not a single communal violence reported”, said political analyst and former MLA Professor K Nageshwar to The New Indian.
Jis party (AIMIM) ke paas sirf 2 MP’s hain usse @BJP4India aur @INCIndia dono pareshan hai.- Barrister @asadowaisi#AIMIM #AsaduddinOwaisi #Majlis #TelanganaElection2023 #AssemblyElections2023 #BJP #Congress #Hyderabad #Telangana pic.twitter.com/bfAhjj1UF4
— AIMIM (@aimim_national) November 19, 2023
Professor Nageshwar also added that schemes like the ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ scheme has indeed been viewed as a huge relief for the Muslim community and that will help the party in certain areas where they form a deciding factor when it comes to elections.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on implementing the UCC and the abolition of religious-based reservations in the state is believed to have created discontentment among the community. This has caused minorities to feel that the Grand Old Party is an option that they can elect to power over BRS, following accusations of the BRS and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen being the “B-team of the BJP”.
Speaking to The New Indian, Congress spokesperson Shujath Ali said that the BRS has failed to deliver on the promises that it had given when it formed the government 10 years ago.
“KCR had promised initially that his government will provide 12 percent quota for Muslim youths in government jobs and institutions. Once when a youngster questioned the Chief minister during a function over this promise, we saw the CM getting irritated and shouting at the boy. This instance is still in the minds of the people. We, the Congress party stands for Muslims, Christians, Jains and Parsis. In these elections, one can see the entire minority community voting en-masse for the Congress as we have come up with 6 major promises in our manifesto which has been already accepted by the people of Telangana”, he said.
The equation between KCR and Asaduddin Owaisi, the Chief of AIMIM, a prominent regional party has been witnessing a major change since the political fight for Telangana began. Earlier, when both the leaders were on different ideological stances as far as the two-state theory is concerned, from 2014 the two leaders began working together keeping apart all the differences.
Since 2014, Rao has been engaged in a battle for political power with the Congress, which has also been trying to stake credit for the creation of the state. Owaisi is also engaged in a turf war with the Congress. Both are bidding to be the sole claimant of Muslim votes.
Hamare bachche Government mein mulaazim ban rahe hain, Doctor ban rahe hain to @bjp4india hasad kar rahi hai. -Barrister @asadowaisi #AIMIM #AsaduddinOwaisi #majlis #BJP #AmitShah #Muslims #Reservation #TelanganaElection2023 #AssemblyElections2023 #VoteForKite pic.twitter.com/aLl28jeCMr
— AIMIM (@aimim_national) November 20, 2023
The minority vote share in seven assembly segments where Muslims form a dominant section among the population ranges from 50 per cent to 85 per cent and 20-25 per cent in another seven segments in Hyderabad city. Muslims further make up to 15-20 per cent in another 30 assembly segments outside Hyderabad. Thus, the Muslims in around 45 assembly segments play a decisive role.
Though KCR keeps appeasing Owaisi and AIMIM, his party BRS has largely failed to ensure due political representation to Muslims in proportion to their population.
“Both the Congress and the BJP are working on the principles of hate politics and the ideology is only meant to divide the people of the state. We have seen it many times. The AIMIM has been working along with the people, especially the Muslim community and understands their problem better that these parties. The Congress state president in Telangana is working as per the orders of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the state leadership is receiving directives from Mohan Bhagwat. Also, the BJP is trying to create fissures in the society by coming up with promises such as the UCC which is not possible to implement in a state like Telangana”, said Owaisi to the media on Monday.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, which passed through Muslim-dominant areas in Telangana for a fortnight, has also acted as a catalyst for the shift in the mood of Muslim minorities. Rahul’s refrain at a rally in Khammam stating that the BJP, BRS and AIMIM’s camaraderie had spared them from probes by central agencies had struck a chord with a section of Muslim voters in the rural areas.
Unlike, the neighbouring state of Karnataka, where the Muslim voters shifted entirely towards the Congress following communal polarisation over issues such as Hijab and UCC implementation, political analysts have suggested that the trend might not follow suit in Telangana as AIMIM is still in support of the BRS government.