Telangana Assembly polls: Muslim vote bank key in 40 constituencies
Political observers believe that there is a prevalent sentiment among the Muslim community that the Congress will be the primary contender against the BJP at the national level.
HYDERABAD: In the run-up to the Assembly elections in Telangana, the focus has shifted to the crucial Muslim vote bank, a factor that could have a bearing on the results in around 40 constituencies across the state.
In the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress secured the overwhelming support of the Muslim community. This factor has raised hopes in the Telangana Congress and party leaders are optimistic that Muslims in the state will favour them in the coming elections.
In 2014 and 2018, the two elections held after the creation of a separate Telangana state, the community overwhelmingly favoured the TRS (now BRS). In fact, the Muslim community supported the TRS in bypolls, urban local bodies and other elections. However, the Karnataka Assembly results have now sparked discussions regarding the shift of the Muslim vote bank to the Congress. Political observers believe that if this happens, it will be a game-changer in Telangana politics.
Comprising 13% of the state’s population, the Muslim community holds sway in at least 40 Assembly constituencies. Both the BRS and the Congress are confident that they will secure the community’s support in the upcoming polls, notwithstanding the fact that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) has appealed to Muslims to support the pink party in the 110 constituencies in which it has not fielded candidates.
The Muslim community had historically supported the Congress and the TDP in elections in undivided Andhra Pradesh. In 2004, they rallied with Congress, propelling the party to victory. However, after the death of YS Rajasekhar Reddy, various factors led to a gap between the Congress and AIMIM, resulting in Muslim support for the BRS in 2014 and 2018.
Political observers believe that there is a prevalent sentiment among the Muslim community that the Congress will be the primary contender against the BJP at the national level. Sensitive issues such as the uniform civil code and hijab ban have created apprehension within the community about the BJP and most Muslim voters are likely to support the party which can dethrone the saffron party from power, political observers feel.
While the BRS remains confident that the Muslim community will favour it due to the introduction of welfare schemes like Shadi Mubarak and the establishment of over 200 residential schools and colleges for minorities, Congress leaders are banking on the party’s minority manifesto, hoping to replicate the success seen in Karnataka.
Political analysts foresee the Muslim vote bank as the deciding factor in numerous constituencies, particularly in rural segments where a vote bank of 12,000 to 15,000 could determine the victor.