Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Praja Kutami are anxious to net the votes of minorities in the elections to Telangana Assembly held today, while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking to pursue its Hindutva agenda aggressively in its own clear fashion. Major parties in the electoral fray and all of them, barring the BJP had cast their eye on the sizable population of minority voters across the state.

Approximately, 15 per cent of Telangana’s population comprises minorities. In other words, every 8th voter in the State is a Muslim. Minorities are spread across all the 31 districts of Telangana. In pockets of Hyderabad,

Rangareddy, Medchal-Malkajgiri, Vikarabad, Nizamabad, Sangareddy, Adilabad, Nirmal, Karimnagar, Warangal (Urban), Vikarabad, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda and Khammam districts of the state they are to be found in huge concentrations.

Muslims account for 50 to 90 per cent of the voters in seven constituencies, 15 to 50 per cent in 22 constituencies, 10 to 15 per cent in 13 constituencies, 5 to 10 per cent in 42 constituencies and 2 to 5 per cent in the remaining 35 constituencies. There is no single constituency without 2 to 3 per cent presence of Muslim voters in the 119 assembly constituencies in Telangana.

Bahadurpura, Chandrayangutta, Charminar, Yakutpura, Nampally, Karwan and Malakpet are the seven constituencies that have over 50 per cent Muslim voters. Nizamabad (Urban), Jubilee Hills, Rajendranagar, Zaheerabad (SC), Bodhan, Goshamahal, Mahbubnagar, Khairatabad, Sangareddy and Adilabad constituencies with 20 to 50 per cent Muslim voters.

Amberpet, Warangal East, Karimnagar, Banswada, Tandur, Musheerabad, Vikarabad, Nirmal, Mudhole, Maheshwaram, Secunderabad and Sanathnagar have Muslim voters in the range of 15 to 20 per cent. AIMIM can emerge victorious on this plank in its seven constituencies, where it had scored a win in 2014. Many biggies from TRS, Congress-TDP alliance and BJP are running an uphill race in most of the 35 constituencies with a Muslim voter base of 10 to 15 per cent. The facts are clear on this--Muslim votes tend to tip the balance. More oftern than not, they make the difference between victory and defeat be it for the TRS or Praja Kutami. The BJP wants to reap benefits from isolating the majority community.

Two major parties are busy luring the minorities. TRS has given party tickets to three candidates, including a sitting member of the dissolved House from Bodhan and two others from the Old City. On the other hand Praja Kutami has nominated eight Muslim candidates (Congress 7 and TDP one), including two from outside Hyderabad (Kamareddy and Nizamabad-Urban) and six from the Old City.

As per the current population share, 15 Muslims should be elected to the assembly. But, the actual number of Muslims elected to the assembly from Telangana region since 1951 has been 5 and 8 candidates. While 8 Muslims were elected in 1951, 1962 and 2014 elections, the number was 7 in 1957, 1967, 1972, 1983, 1985, 1999, 2004 and 2009 elections. The number fell to six Muslims in 1989 and only five each in 1978 and 1994 elections. On the whole, the number of Muslim candidates elected to assembly from Congress, TDP and CPI, has come down though the AIMIM tally increased from 3 to 7 in the last five decades.

In the current situation only one or two muslims are elected outside Hyderabad from other parties and AIMIM in the Old City has maximum number of them contesting in the polls. Muslims all over Telangana, thus, look towards AIMIM for highlighting their issues in the assembly. TRS will apparently be the main beneficiary of Muslim votes outside AIMIM strongholds. In the other constituencies where AIMIM is not in the race, they are going to support TRS, which can give an edge to the party which formed the government in 2014.

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