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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Hyderabad remains a pipe dream for BJP

Asaduddin Owaisi’s father, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, represented the Hyderabad Lok Sabha since 1984. Since 2004, Asaduddin has been winning the segment.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 00:19 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 00:19 IST

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As a BJP rally passes through the main road in Dhoolpet, the excitement among the party’s Hindu supporters is quite visible, with chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Jai Modi’.

A predominantly Hindu area, Dhoolpet is part of the Goshamahal assembly segment that comes under the Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment. It is represented by ‘firebrand’ MLA Raja Singh, who has been winning the seat since 2014 and is also the only seat occupied by the BJP in the entire old city.

“None else can enter our area. If they enter and cause any mischief, they know what will happen,” said Bajrang Singh, a small businessman who sells disposable items on Dhoolpet’s main road, while interacting with this correspondent.

Goshamahal is the only assembly segment of the seven that comes under the Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment, a hotbed of communal politics that has been a stronghold of the Owaisis since 1984. All the six other segments are represented by AIMIM MLAs.

Asaduddin Owaisi’s father, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, represented the Hyderabad Lok Sabha since 1984. Since 2004, Asaduddin has been winning the segment.

The BJP’s persistent efforts to breach Owaisi’s stronghold in the Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment have intensified in the current political scenario.

The BJP had fielded social worker and businesswoman Kompella Madhavi Latha to take on AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi. She boldly showcases her Hindu identity by adorning rudrakshas on her hands and sporting a prominent tilak on her forehead without hesitation or reservation.

“We don’t know who the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate is. Our vote is for Modi ji, and here we will stand in support of Raja Singh, who always stands in support of our rights and aspirations. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to survive in an old city where their (Muslim) dominance is clearly visible,” added Bajrang Singh.

Madhavi Latha chants Rudram with ease and stops even at a small temple on her way during the campaign. But the mood on the ground and the data show that the BJP’s desire to unfurl the saffron flag on Owaisi’s stronghold remains a distant dream this time too.

“It’s not so easy for the BJP to win the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat. The demography of the segment is highly skewed against the BJP’s support base. The Owaisis are always accessible to everyone in the segment. AIMIM MLAs, corporators, and Owaisis are just half an hour away from any voter when they need them. They have a well-oiled election machinery. And the BJP has never had a long-term and consistent strategy for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha. You don’t have a strong leader from the BJP on whom the voters can fall back even after the elections,” senior journalist and political analyst Raka Sudhakar Rao, who has been tracking BJP politics in both the Telugu states for a long time, told DH.

According to a voter list analysis done by Chanakyya political consultancy, the Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment has approximately 1,155,016 Muslim voters, which is around 59% of the total voters.

“While every Muslim in the Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment votes for Owaisi, until now Hindu votes were split between Congress and BRS candidates except in Goshamahal. A near 90% consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of Owaisi is the real advantage to AIMIM, with Muslim voters in larger numbers than Hindu voters. Only with one Hindu-dominated Goshamahal segment can the BJP win the entire Hyderabad Lok Sabha segment,” another political analyst who wished not to be named told DH.

Probably, as part of that number crunching, Madhavi Latha tried to woo Muslim women, as she could only rely on Hindu votes. She had worked with Muslim women against triple talaq, which had traditionally helped the BJP in some Muslim pockets in North India, in the last few years.

“We all support Owaisi saab. Both the brothers are like our family. They are the ones who stand with us even in happiness and sorrow,” Suleman, a bangle worker in the Charminar area, told DH.

Historically, the BJP’s vote share in recent elections has fluctuated between 20% and 30%, indicating a consistent pattern over time. While Asaduddin Owaisi from AIMIM and Madhavi Latha of the BJP are locking horns with each other in the Hyderabad Lok Sabha, BRS has fielded Gaddam Srinivas Yadav, and Congress is yet to decide on its candidate.

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Published 25 April 2024, 00:19 IST

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