Muslim votes in Telangana are likely to be split between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the opposition Congress-led People's Front as the two major contenders for power have intensified their efforts to woo the minority community.
Telangana Muslim votes may split between TRS, Congress
With a huge concentration of Muslim voters in the State capital Hyderabad and some other districts, they are in a position to tilt the balance in nearly half of the 119 Assembly constituencies going to polls on December 7.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the third big contestant in some of the constituencies. Muslim voters are believed to be between 35 and 60 per cent in 10 constituencies in Hyderabad and anywhere between 10 to 40 per cent in 50 other constituencies spread across the rest of the State.
The support of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) to the TRS in all constituencies, except the eight where MIM candidates are in the fray, may give the ruling party some edge over its rivals.
The Jamaat-e-Islami has also declared its support to the TRS while the Jamaitul Ulema-e-Hind is backing the Congress. The United Muslim Forum, which comprises various Muslim religious and social organisations and is seen as friendly to MIM, also appears divided over the issue of support to the TRS.
Those supporting the TRS argue that four-and-half years of TRS rule was free from communal riots and it took some steps for welfare and development of Muslims like opening over 250 residential schools, scholarships for students and schemes like ‘Shadi Mubarak’ under which financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh is being provided for the marriage of poor girls.
The People's Front has given tickets to eight Muslim candidates while the TRS has fielded just two. The majority of the Congress' Muslim candidates are in the constituencies held by MIM. Even the BJP has fielded two Muslim candidates from here.
By Mohammed Shafeeq