The electoral fortunes of the main parties seeking power in Telangana depend on the way the Muslims choose to vote

The stakes are high for major political parties in Wednesday’s election. And the one community that is keeping everyone guessing are Muslims. The electoral fortunes of the main parties seeking power in Telangana depend on the way the minorities choose to vote.

Muslims with substantial presence in most of the constituencies hold the key. The bottom line is to keep the BJP-TDP combine out as the ‘Modi factor’ has ensured that the minority votes are not split. While the community has been traditionally supporting the Congress, this time round there is going to be a major shift in its voting pattern.

In a tactical move, Muslims will be supporting candidates of different parties as long as they have secular credentials and are in a position to defeat the BJP/TDP nominees. In about 50 Assembly segments across Telangana, Muslim voters are 20,000 plus in number, large enough to tilt the balance in favour of whichever party they vote for. In respect of Lok Sabha seats they can influence the outcome in eight to 10 constituencies, it is said.

Hyderabad has the highest number of 11 lakh Muslim voters followed by five lakhs in Secunderabad. The third biggest concentration of three lakh minority voters is in Malakajgiri parliamentary constituency. Chevella and Zaheerabad LS seats have two lakh each voters while Nizamabad, Medak and Mahabubnagar account for 1.50 lakh voters.

The LS segments of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Peddapalli and Bhongir have about one lakh minority voters. The least number of 50,000 voters are in Mahabubabad parliamentary seat.

“Muslims are in a position to impact the poll outcome. And this time we have taken care to ensure that the community votes unitedly,” says Khalid Rasool Khan, convenor of the newly-formed Telangana Muttaheda Muslim Mahaz (TMMM).

During the last one month various Muslim organisations such as United Muslim Forum (UMF), All-India Muslim Sangham, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulama held consultations and took feedback from people and came up with the list of candidates they want to be supported. The idea is to ensure that the community votes strategically to keep the communal parties out.

An interesting decision is not to extend blanket support to the Congress when its candidates are not strong in some places. For instance the UMF supports Majlis candidate, Asaduddin Owaisi, for Hyderabad LS seat but for Secunderabad it recommends the Congress nominee, Anjan Kumar Yadav.

For the Assembly seats TMMM is extending support to the Congress in 61 constituencies, TRS in 42, Majlis in nine, Left parties one each besides one BSP and MRPS candidate and an Independent

Interestingly, for the two Assembly seats of Yakutpura and Chandrayangutta, the Jammat-e-Islami Hind has extended support to MBT .