The Old City of Hyderabad, once the bastion of the Congress and later conceded to its earlier political ally AIMIM, can now hardly boast of any State-level or national-level leader apart from a strong vote base.
But the six guarantees of the Congress party seem to have infused the minority leadership, which wants to take these six promises to every household in the Old City with the slogan that 85% of the residents there will benefit from it. Lakhs of poor people residing in the Old City, particularly the women community are being targeted by the minority leaders of the Congress party.
There is hardly any scheme that would not impact a large number of women of the minority community, not just in Hyderabad but across Telangana, says Hyderabad District Congress Committee (DCC) president Sameer Waliullah. “The schemes announced by Ms. Sonia Gandhi will touch 85% of minorities, who are mostly from financially poor background,” he says.
Mr. Sameer Waliullah argues that no scheme like the Mahalakshmi scheme existed under any government. “Under the scheme, Congress promises ₹2,500 for women and the free travel for women in buses means they would be saving huge. The Congress party, he feels will improve its vote share hugely, and the response just a few days after the announcement has been tremendous. Every household is discussing these schemes and they have the live example of Karnataka, where the Congress has implemented similar schemes, he argues.
Chairman of the TPCC Minorities department Shaikh Abdullah Sohail reveals that two schemes that have already become talking points at homes and family meetings are the gas cylinders for ₹500 only and the Gruha Jyothi guarantee that provides 200 units of free electricity. “These schemes have hit people like the 4% reservations provided by the Congress government for poor Muslims,” he says. “We will plan street corner meetings and ‘Jalsas’ to take this deep into people.”
Aamer Zaveed, a young Congress leader and a strong contender for the Jubilee Hills ticket alleges that the BRS government has literally killed the Fee Reimbursement scheme and this has led to the closure of over 100 minority colleges of different streams. “This has driven away minority students to pursue higher education. But with the Congress announcing to revive the fee reimbursement scheme and also ₹5 lakh assistance for higher education is a confidence builder for the minority youth and their parents,” he says.
Congress minority leaders feel this is the best opportunity for the party to get the minority voters back into its kitty. It is not just the schemes but also the credibility factor that is making people think. “It was the Congress that introduced 4% reservations to poor Muslims that had churned out thousands of doctors, engineers and other professionals in the last 15 years,” says Mr. Sohail.