MIM faces stiff BJP challenge in its fortress

MIM faces stiff BJP challenge in its fortress

For Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis E Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and party candidate from Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency, the style of campaigning has remained almost the same ever since he jumped into the electoral fray in 2004.

He knows the elders of every street in the city by name and charms people in each house with his Hyderabadi talk. Summing up his street tour with a short speech on his public address system, he proceeds to continue his routine the entire day in various neighbourhoods except for a short tea break. He ends the day’s proceedings with the Majlis brand grand night time public meeting.

Not everything he listens to is pleasant. In Karwan, one of the seven Assembly segments in Hyderabad where he is campaigning for MIM, people complained to him about lack of civic amenities in their area, currently represented by MIM’s Mohammad Muqtada Khan.

“That is why we have now Kausar Mohiuddin,” Asad said, mentioning the change in candidate.

Asad has indeed retained five sitting MLAs of his party -Akbaruddin Owaisi from Chandrayangutta, Mumtaz Ahmed Khan from Yakutpura, Ahmed Pasha Quadri from Charminar, Ahmed Balala from Malakpet and Muazzam Khan from Bahadurpura.

Asad, the sitting MP from Hyderabad, has been literally streets ahead of his BJP
rival Dr Bhagavanth Rao in terms of his campaign. Rao is also a known face in the city as he is secretary of the Ganapathi Utsav committee.

“The (Hyderabad) seat has been with the MIM for the past eight terms, ever since my father Salahuddin Owaisi won here in 1984,” Asad said, exuding confidence of his victory in the seat one more time.

Announcing that the MIM would contest both in Telangana and in residual Andhra Pradesh, Asad had earlier declared candidates for the Seemandhra seats as well.

In three decades of contesting the polls in Hyderabad, the Majlis were pitted thrice against the TDP (1984, 89 and 2009), while they faced candidates from the BJP the rest of the times.

The Telugu Desam, following their futile effort to topple the Majlis in the walled city with help from Siasat Editor Jahed Ali Khan and a grand alliance with the communists in 2009, has now stepped aside for the BJP.

Campaigning by City Library Chairman Sama Krishna Reddy of the Congress and Rasheed Sheriff of the TRS has so far been lacklustre.

Knowing that he had to face a stronger BJP candidate, T Raja Singh, in Goshamahal Assembly segment, Asad had left the seat for Congress which has nominated former minister Mukesh Goud.

Mettu Raghavender of the YSR Congress, who is contesting from Goshamahal, is among the new faces in the old city constituencies.

Asad has set reservation for Muslims in both the states and Rs 1000 crore budget for minorities as his agenda. “MIM is not a religious party; the Sangh parivar has branded us like that. We are for the weaker sections, particularly the Dalits,” Asad said.

Denying any ‘tacit arrangements’ with the Congress that has fielded a weaker candidate, Asad said: “Whatever the Majlis does, it does openly. No under the wraps arrangements.”

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