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Majlis poised to win Hyderabad for the 10th time

By S. Hussain Ali Sajjad

Hyderabad (Press Media of India): Hyderabad parliamentary seat is the only constituency where national, State and regional parties are afraid to contest.  Such has been the grip of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen over this constituency that the party has won the seat in nine successive Lok Sabha elections in the last three and a half decades. However, this is also the only constituency in the State where Bharatiya Janata Party has been making repeated attempts since 1991 to wrest the seat from Majlis.

It was in 1984 that Salar-e-Millat Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi scored a sensational victory in Hyderabad parliamentary seat by trouncing the candidate of Telugu Desam Party-BJP alliance K Prabhakar Reddy by a narrow margin of 3,481 votes in a fiercely-fought election. Salar retained Hyderabad seat in keenly-fought elections in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999. Out of the six times that Salar won this seat, he defeated BJP candidates three times and the combined candidates of TDP-BJP alliance three times.

After Salar opted out of electoral contests, Asaduddin Owaisi contested and won Hyderabad parliamentary seat in 2004 elections by defeating BJP rival by a majority of one lakh votes. In 2009 elections, Asaduddin Owaisi retained the seat, by inflicting a crushing defeat on the TDP rival by a majority of 1.14 lakh votes. Incidentally, in 1996 elections, Salar had trounced BJP’s top state leader M Venkaiah Naidu (now Vice-President of India) by a majority of 73,273 votes. BJP candidate Baddam Bal Reddy set a record by losing out three times to Salar in 1991, 1998 and 1999.

Salar’s successive victories were quite eventful and reflected the cohesion and consolidation of minorities under his charismatic leadership. In 1984, when he wrested the Hyderabad seat, there were hardly 39 percent minorities in the constituency. And, when the challenge from BJP and TDP-BJP combine grew in the consecutive elections, he established his unassailable grip over the constituency, thanks to the overwhelming support of minorities. This explains how Salar’s votes soared from just around 2.22 lakh in 1984 to 4.86 lakh in 1998 whereas the rivals’ votes grew from 2.19 lakh in 1984 to 4.15 lakh in 1998.

During 1984-2004 elections, Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency consisted of seven assembly segments—Tandur, Vikarabad and Chevella in Rangareddy district and Karwan, Charminar, Chandrayangutta and Yakutpura in Hyderabad (Urban) district. After the delimitation in 2008, Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency comprises Malakpet, Yakutpura, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Bahadurpura, Karwan and Goshamahal assembly segments. With the delimitation, Hyderabad has become an all-urban constituency with virtual dominance of the minority voters.   

The BJP-TDP alliance fought their fourth combined battle against Majlis in Hyderabad in the 2014 general elections. For the second time, BJP had chosen a non-BJP leader to contest the polls. In 2009, BJP had fielded a Vishwa Hindu Parishad functionary Satish Agarwal in Hyderabad. In 2014, BJP had chosen another VHP leader and top functionary of Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, Dr Bhagavanth Rao Pawar. The BJP nominee was an ayurvedic doctor and lawyer. He is a bachelor, having dedicated his life to the Sangh Parivar. 

Though it was supposedly a multi-cornered contest with a total of 16 candidates in the fray in 2014, the Majlis was engaged in a direct fight with BJP.  Congress candidate Sama Krishna Reddy emerged as the second runner-up. Telangana Rashtra Samithi, YSR Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, besides five smaller parties and four independents, offered a token fight for the Hyderabad seat.

Asaduddin Owaisi polled 5.14 lakh votes as against 3.11 lakh votes polled by BJP candidate Bhagavanth Rao and the Majlis victory margin rose to 2,02,454 votes in 2014. 

One key reason for Majlis winning the Hyderabad parliamentary seat successively had been its presence in the four Assembly segments out of seven that made up this constituency from 1984 till 2004. Majlis had been winning three to four Assembly seats in Hyderabad parliamentary constituency (during 1967-2004). In 2009, Majlis won all the six assembly segments it contested in Hyderabad parliamentary constituency. The Majlis retained these six assembly seats in 2014 and 2018 elections. Also, most of the corporators of Majlis in the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) during 1986-91, 2002-2007 and in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation since 2009, represented divisions falling under these Assembly constituencies.

Simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Assembly five times since 1989 have also helped Majlis consolidate itself in the parliamentary seat as well as the assembly segments. In 1989, Majlis bagged Hyderabad seat alongwith three assembly segments in this constituency. In 1999 and 2004, Majlis secured four Assembly segments alongwith Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat. In 2009, Majlis emerged winner in Hyderabad seat and all assembly segments except Goshamahal under this constituency. In 2014 also, when simultaneous polls were held for Assembly and Lok Sabha, Majlis repeated its 2009 performance.

One fact which is the secret behind Majlis’ repeated successes in Hyderabad is its uninterrupted score-card of achievements and alround work ever since the party was revived in March 1958, almost 10 years after the Police Action and two years after the formation of Andhra Pradesh State. Majlis made its electoral debut by contesting two by-elections to the then Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad in 1959. Majlis won 24 corporators’ seats in 1960 MCH polls and emerged as the main opposition group.  The party retained its position as main opposition after 1964 MCH polls, too. When elections were held to MCH after a gap of 16 years in 1986, Majlis again became the single-largest party in the civic body.

Majlis got its first Hindu mayor elected in 1986 in alliance with the Congress. During 1986-1991, Majlis had five mayors, including three from Dalit community and two from minority community. It also had five deputy mayors, one from Dalit community, one from Lambada tribe and three from minority community. Majlis also controlled the Standing Committee during 1986-1991. When elections were held to MCH after a gap of 11 years in 2002, Majlis emerged as single largest party once again.  It controlled the Standing Committee alongwith the Congress.

In the 2009 elections to the 150-member Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Majlis retained its premier position, by winning 41 out of 100 divisions in the core city (erstwhile MCH). It also bagged 2 divisions in the peripheral areas. With its tally of 43, the Majlis joined hands with the Congress to control the GHMC.  Under the pact between the two parties, the Congress held the mayor’s post in GHMC for two years, followed by Majlis mayor for three years 2012-2014. Majlis had its deputy mayor during 2009-2011 and the Congress held the post of deputy mayor during 2012-2014.

The Majlis has its uninterrupted presence in the Legislative Assembly since 1962.  Salar-e-Millat was elected to AP Legislative Assembly in the elections held in 1962 from Pathergatti constituency. He trounced Congress rival Masooma Begum, who was Minister in Damodaram Sanjivayya cabinet, by a margin of 5,141 votes. At 26 years of age, Salar was one of the youngest members elected to the Assembly in 1962.

In the 1967 assembly elections, the Majlis won three seats from Hyderabad. Salar trounced Congress rival Mir Ahmed Ali Khan, the then Minister of Home in Kasu Brahmananda Reddy’s cabinet, who had shifted from Malakpet constituency to Pathergatti to take on the Majlis. Salar defeated him by a majority of 7,500 votes. Majlis members were elected from Yakutpura and Sitarambagh constituencies in 1967. Salar led Majlis Legislature Party during 1962-84. The Majlis has repeated its success in the consecutive Assembly polls in 1972, 1978, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2018. 

In the 2014 elections, Majlis fielded its candidates in all Assembly segments in Hyderabad constituency, except Goshamahal. Sitting MLAs were re-nominated from Chandrayangutta, Charminar, Yakutpura, Malakpet and Bahadurpura segments while a new face was fielded from Karwan segment. BJP was the main rival for Majlis candidates in Karwan, Malakpet and Yakutpura assembly segments while Telugu Desam was the key rival in Chandrayangutta, Charminar and Bahadurpura assembly segments. In the 2018 assembly elections, BJP was the main rival for Majlis nominees in Karwan, Charminar and Chandrayangutta segments while TRS was runner-up in Yakutpura and Bahadurpura segments and TDP was runner up in Malakpet segment. Thus, other parties neither had their presence nor support base to offer any credible opposition to Majlis.

With 19,57,772 voters for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Hyderabad is the fourth biggest constituencies in Telangana. With minorities constituting over 60 percent of the electorate, Majlis has solid rock base and it is in an unassailable position in Hyderabad. However, the challenge from BJP cannot be ignored. Since 2014, BJP has been trying to polarize the voters in Hyderabad parliamentary constituency by harping on “Modi wave.” The animosity of BJP and Sangh parivar leadership to the Owaisi brothers—Asaduddin and Akbaruddin—is well-known. The BJP would leave no stone unturned to wrest the Hyderabad seat from Majlis.

In the GHMC elections in February 2016, Majlis bagged 33 out of 44 municipal divisions in the seven assembly segments of Hyderabad constituency. TRS came second with a tally of 8 divisions and BJP came third with only three divisions. Congress and TDP drew a blank and came at fourth and fifth places in terms of votes polled.     

In 2009, TDP and BJP had covert understanding to defeat Majlis in Hyderabad. With that strategy in place, TDP had fielded a minority candidate from Hyderabad as well as from assembly segments in this constituency to draw on minority votes even while getting a bulk of majority community’s votes. But even that stratagem failed miserably. Hence, in 2014, BJP and TDP entered into open alliance with renewed vigour to take on Majlis. Their objective was to wrest one or two Assembly segments in Hyderabad from Majlis. The BJP-TDP alliance also extended covert support to some smaller parties in two other segments. But their alliance failed yet again.

In the 2018 assembly elections, the Congress had an alliance with TDP, Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi. Congress fielded candidates in six segments and the TDP in one segment. BJP contested the assembly polls on its own in 2018 and the saffron party is in the fray in Lok Sabha 2019 without any alliance.

The minorities have been extending their full support to Majlis and isolating those seeking to sow seeds of discord in the community. First and foremost, the minorities ensure that their votes for Hyderabad parliamentary seat and six out of seven assembly segments go to Majlis and votes are not frittered away on other parties. However, a matter of concern in successive elections has been the lower voter turn-out in Hyderabad parliamentary constituency. The polling percentage had dropped to just 52.55 percent in 2009 and it slightly improved to 53.30 percent in 2014.

Fact-Sheet: Hyderabad Lok Sabha Constituency:

1984: Total Valid Votes Polled: 5,82,774

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM  2,22,187

Runner-Up: K Prabhakar Reddy TDP          2,18,706

Margin: 3,481

Nine candidates in fray included V Hanumantha Rao of the Congress and 6 others.

1989: Total Valid Votes Polled: 8,79,187

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM 4,03,625

Runner-up: Teegala Krishna Reddy TDP  2,70,547

Margin:  1,33,078

13 candidates in the fray included Konda Laxma Reddy of the Congress and 10 others.

1991: Total Valid Votes Polled: 9,84,878

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM 4,54,823

Runner-Up: Baddam Bal Reddy BJP          4,15,299

Margin: 39,524

26 candidates in the fray included P Indra Reddy of TDP and M Shiv Shankar (Goud) of the Congress and 22 others.

1996: Total Valid Votes Polled: 9,28,704

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM  3,21,045

Runner-Up: M Venkaiah Naidu BJP            2,47,772

Margin: 73,273

53 candidates in the fray included P Sudhakar Reddy of the Congress, Mohammed Amanullah Khan of MBT, P Mahender Reddy of NTR-TDP and Teegala Krishna Reddy of TDP and 47 others.

1998: Total Valid Votes Polled: 10,88,060

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM 4,85,785

Runner-Up: Baddam Bal Reddy BJP           4,14,173

Margin: 71,612

18 candidates in the fray included Kichannagari Laxma Reddy of the Congress and K S Ratnam of the TDP and 14 others.

1999: Total Valid Votes Polled: 10,83,678

Winner: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi MIM 4,48,165

Runner-Up: Baddam Bal Reddy BJP          3,87,344

Margin: 60,821

Seven candidates in the fray included Konda Laxma Reddy of the Congress and 4 others.

2004: Total Valid Votes Polled: 9,86,737

Winner: Asaduddin Owaisi MIM        3,78,854

Runner-Up: G Subash Chanderji BJP  2,78,709

Margin: 1,00,145

Eight candidates in the fray included Konda Laxma Reddy of the Congress and 5 others.

2009: Total Valid Votes Polled:  7,31,108

Winner: Asaduddin Owaisi MIM  3,08,061

Runner-Up: Zahid Ali Khan TDP    1,94,196

Margin: 1,13,865

23 candidates in the fray included P Laxman Rao Goud of the Congress and Satish Agarwal of the BJP and 19 others.

2014: Total Valid Votes Polled: 9,66,218

Winner: Asaduddin Owaisi MIM 5,13,868

Runner-Up: Dr Bhagavanth Rao: 3,11,414

Margin: 2,02,454

16 candidates in the fray included S Krishna Reddy of the Congress and Rashid Shareef of TRS and 12 others.

Baddam Bal Reddy of the BJP and Konda Laxma Reddy of the Congress contested and lost three times each and Teegala Krishna Reddy of TDP contested and lost twice.  Other candidates of Congress, TDP, BJP and other parties contested once.

During 1984-2004 elections, Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency consisted of seven assembly segments—Tandur, Vikarabad and Chevella in Rangareddy District and Karwan, Charminar, Chandrayangutta and Yakutpura in Hyderabad District.

After the delimitation in 2008, Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency comprises Malakpet, Yakutpura, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Bahadurpura, Karwan and Goshamahal assembly segments (all in Hyderabad District).    

Of the seven assembly segments, six—namely, Malakpet, Yakutpura, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Bahadurpura and Karwan—were won by MIM in the 2009, 2014 and 2018 assembly elections. The MIM is contesting the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat in the ensuing elections.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Asaduddin Owaisi of MIM is seeking re-election. BJP has fielded Dr Bhagavanth Rao in Hyderabad once again. In all, 15 candidates are in the fray, including Pusthe Srikanth of TRS and Mohammed Feroz Khan of the Congress. The fight is likely to be mainly between MIM and BJP, with the TRS and Congress relegated to the third and fourth positions.(PMI)

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