Civic and national issues to dictate poll pitch as AIMIM and BJP look to battle it out in Hyderabad constituency

While there is an undercurrent of agreement in connection with civic issues, other voters opined that Lok Sabha elections are primarily driven by national policies

Published - May 08, 2024 09:28 pm IST - HYDERABAD

It has been a high-pitched poll campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Hyderabad, a political slugfest that courted significant controversy. Though all major political parties have fielded candidates, the contest is largely between two — the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kompella Madhavi Latha. 

While Mr. Owaisi is seeking reelection to the Lok Sabha for the fifth time, Ms. Latha is a political debutante. Meanwhile, after quite some delay, the Congress fielded Mohammed Waliullah Sameer and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) fielded Gaddam Srinivas Yadav.

“Election campaigns have seen polarising issues. There was the bow and arrow episode on Ram Navami in Siddiamber Bazaar by the BJP candidate. She also discussed about women wearing hijab, made comments about beef and objections to this were raised,” said M. A. Waseem, a resident of Noor Khan Bazaar. “While the Majlis (AIMIM) needs to do much more work, it is not that they have not done anything. Clean water is a necessity everywhere and Hyderabad constituency is no different. They have installed RO plants. In fact, there is one near my house in the Balshetty Khet playground. There are more in the Azampura area as well,” he explained. 

Data obtained from the Hyderabad District Collector’s office, and previously reported in these columns, showed that Mr. Owaisi spent a chunk of his Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds for improving civic infrastructure. Latest data too suggests a similar trend with funds being spent for RO plants and laying of sewage lines and construction of roads. Mr. Owaisi has also used his MPLADS funds for the construction of Govt Primary School, Puranapul and another government school in Azampura area.

However, for some voters, the issue of development in Old City, which corresponds to large swathes of the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency remains a sticky issue. The Hyderabad Metro Rail being a case in point. A Manik Prabhu Goud, a lawyer by profession, and a resident of Lal Darwaza, an area significantly populated by the Hindu community, points out, “We should have had the metro in core Old City a long time ago. But this was not done. The issue is of development. We have been divided by all political parties, not just one. People from the Old City face problems getting loans from banks. All political parties are responsible for this. All communities will have to work together for the development of Old City.”

While there is an undercurrent of agreement in connection with civic issues, other voters opined that Lok Sabha elections are primarily driven by national policies. “To say that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), demonisation of Muslims by the ruling party and reservations should be secondary is incorrect. These are important issues that are connected to the wellbeing of a large section of the Indian public,” said Haseeb Khan, a team leader working in a large corporate firm.

The Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat comprises Malakpet, Karwan, Goshamahal, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Yakutpura and Bahadurpura assembly segments. The 2011 Census reveals a key demographic indicator of the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency: the Bahadurpura mandal has the highest urban population with over 4.68 lakh people as well as highest density with 56,609 people per square kilometre.

Mr. Owaisi’s vote share in 2019 stood at 58.94%, increasing from 52.9% recorded in the previous elections, while that of the BJP candidate Dr. Bhagwanth Rao was 26.8%.

According to the latest data, the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency has a total of 22,17,305 electors with 11,25,283 male voters and 10,91,615 female voters. Another 196 belong to what the government describes as third genders. The grand total is also inclusive of service electors. The largest number of voters are in the Karwan assembly segment followed by the Yakutpura and Chandrayangutta assembly segments.

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