HYDERABAD: His very presence has an electrifying effect. The crowd goes gaga as he offers ‘salam’ and shakes hand. People try to catch up with him while the youth try to take selfies as he walks down the lane. Midway, he stops and bows his head to accept a garland. No promises, no speeches. A broad smile and the habitual flash of V-sign is enough. The youth erupts into shouting ‘Majlis ko vote do’.
The hop, skip and jump quest for votes has begun. Nominations over, the Majlis hit the campaign trail on Tuesday. Party president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi has set a punishing pace for his opponents by undertaking padayatras in several localities in the old city. With nominees of the wards concerned in tow, he went from house to house in Uppuguda in the old city and in Rahmatnagar in the Jubilee Hills Assembly constituency seeking votes for his party candidates in the municipal elections.
Later in the evening he addressed public meetings at Shah Ali Banda, Teegalkunta and Uppuguda.
Even as other parties are getting their act together, the Majlis has taken a head start in the old city. Detailed programmes are being worked out for all MLAs to undertake door-to-door campaign in the municipal divisions coming under their constituencies.
The Owaisi brothers, the mainstay of the party, are not taking the GHMC election lightly as they are aware of the stiff challenge that lay in multi-cornered contests. They go around various areas in the morning and in the evening, and address a series of public meetings at night.
The Owaisis are profusely garlanded by shopkeepers and are even tied victory bands on their arms. An elderly woman blesses Asaduddin as he bends his tall frame in reverence. “Ammajan, don’t forget to vote for Majlis,” he reminds her.
“The magic of Modi and Congress will not work in Hyderabad,” he declares as the crowed chants the ‘Majlis zindabad’ slogan at a public meeting at Narqi Phool Bagh in Chandrayangutta. Asaduddin dares the Congress and BJP-TDP combine to dislodge the MIM in the Baldiya elections. These parties have done nothing for the city while the Majlis has a clear-cut plan for the development of Hyderabad and making it clean and green, he asserts.
Addressing a street-corner meeting at Shah Ali Banda, he takes a dig at the Congress for denying him permission to address meetings in Bangalore. “But we do not stop anyone in Hyderabad from holding meetings. Congress leaders are free to criticise me in my areas,” he says as the crowed lustily cheers him.
The Majlis has opened centralised election offices in various Assembly constituencies for better coordination. An office was opened at Yousuf Tekdi in Tolichowki for the divisions coming under the Karwan Assembly constituency, and at Kalapathar for the Charminar and Bahadurpura constituencies. Such offices are being set up for other constituencies too. “We do not want to leave anything to chance”, says a party functionary.