Muslims in Telangana form around 12.7% per cent of the voters and according to the political experts, they hold the power to decide the destiny of political parties in at least 40% of the 119 assembly constituencies as the state is set to the polls on December 7.
Muslims are present in substantial figures in almost all districts of Telangana but are most influential in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Medak, Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts.
Hyderabad alone has 1.73 million Muslims residing in it according to the Telangana Social Development Report- 2017, which makes it up a fourth of the city’s population and 43.5% of the state’s Muslim population. It has 24 assembly seats, of which the outcome in 10 can be decided by Muslim voters.
Old city of Hyderabad has the most number of the Muslims residing in it, which has been a vote bank of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) for more than two decades. The party has been consistently winning all the seven assembly seats in the old city.
The MIM was a strong opponent of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh before 2014, fearing that it would result in the growth of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Telangana due to a polarisation of Hindu votes. However, with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) emerging stronger after the formation of the new state, the MIM gave up its anti-Telangana stand and warmed up to the TRS.
KT Rama Rao, the KCR’s son and state IT minister earlier this week said Muslims were feeling secure during the TRS government. “There was not a single instance of communal violence in Telangana. The old city of Hyderabad which used to witness curfews regularly during the Congress regime is peaceful now. The Muslims are happy with TRS.”
Telangana PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said, “TRS failed to implement a promise for 12% reservations for Muslims in education and employment, a move that was struck down by the judiciary. It was the Congress party which introduced 4% quota for Muslims. KCR promised to enhance it to 12 % within a year of coming to power, but could not implement it till now.”