The Azaan school incident, Triple-Talaq ordinance, anti-incumbency and developmental issues such as roads, water sanitation and Metro Rail would play an important role in the forthcoming elections. With the BJP making inroads in Shia pockets, the swapping of candidates in Yakutpura and Charminar is a clear indication of AIMIM being cautious and is not taking a chance

The political parties in Old City are slowly warming up and the momentum is picking up for the Assembly polls most likely to be held by the end of this year. The main players apart from AIMIM are BJP, Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) and Congress which have already begun to reach-out to the masses to gain an upper hand.

While the ruling TRS may not be a strong contender in this part of the city, given its relationship with AIMIM it is likely to end up indirectly helping its partner.

Though AIMIM remains strong in the Old City, couple of the constituencies may look to other political parties owing to issues like development like Metro Rail, anti-incumbency, infighting and mishandling of rape case and important being the alliance with TRS, which did not rule out possibility of allying with BJP at Centre.

There is a saying that ‘people denounce the party, but on the day of voting end up casting their vote in favour of the party’. Political analysts believe that even in the upcoming elections the AIMIM will be successful in consolidating its vote bank, but unlike the 2014 elections some of the vote base may shift to other political parties due to various reasons.

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They believe that the Asaduddin Owaisi’s dream of spreading the party’s wing towards becoming a pan-India party may dent a blow to its image and nothing short of a misadventure. The experiences in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and latest being Karnataka were keenly observed by the constituents within the City of Hyderabad. This has resulted in many detractors to raise their voices. In the recent years, the social media has also provided a chance by the opponents to criticise the leadership, particularly over alleged involvement in land related issues like Wakf.

AIMIM was amongst the first political parties of the State to announce its candidates and all the seven MLAs received blessings from the party high command. Except for trade off by Mumtaz Ahmed Khan and Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri over Yakutpura and Charminar the current MLAs in other five constituencies were announced as the candidates by the party. Yakutpura is considered to be strong constituency, but local anti-incumbency has prompted the AIMIM to take special care in the previous elections and the situation continues. Allegations of Mumtaz Ahmed Khan neglecting the constituency continued even this time and some reports also pointed that he would lose ticket this time, but he was asked to contest from Charminar and Pasha Quadri was shifted to Yakutpura.

Another important factor, which may turn decisive in Yakutpura is the sizeable population of the Shia Muslims, who in the recent years have started slowly distancing themselves from AIMIM and leaders can be seen vocally supporting BJP. One of the top grievances of the community is ignoring their candidature in the elections. For over two decades none from the community were given ticket. The last time the party fielded Baqar Agha from Yakutpura in 1994.

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While in Nampally constituency, the infighting amongst the party leaders against the current incumbent Jaffar Hussain Meraj has impacted the development works. Mohammed Majid Hussain, former Mayor and Yasser Arafat, son of Mumtaz Ahmed Khan remained top challengers of former Deputy Mayor, Jaffar Hussain ever since he was given Nampally ticket in 2014. The party leadership tried to sort the matters, but the cadres of these leaders remain loyal to the local leadership and could prove damage the prospects in the upcoming elections.

The other two constituencies Malakpet and Karwan constituencies are facing serious challenge of edging out to other political parties like BJP, if they field a strong candidate on development plank. Ahmed Bin Abdullah Balala, a strongman, who also own local news channels has allegedly failed to focus on the development of the constituency which has a sizeable non-Muslim population. The recent death of TDP corporator, Singireddy Srinivas Reddy is also considered to have huge impact in the voter base, as the MLA enjoyed political understanding with him.

Similar is the situation of Karwan constituency, but the recent rape issue of minor in Azaan International school has impacted the prospects of the AIMIM, as the matter was widely debated over social media, while some blamed the local MLA Kausar Mohiuddin for ‘mishandling’ of the issue.

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Analysts believe that these two loose ends may land in the kitty of the BJP, if a more acceptable candidate to overall constituents is fielded. Earlier, Baddam Bal Reddy and N Indrasena Reddy served the constituencies of Karwan and Malakpet at least twice. Even though Muslims in these constituencies may not give a thumps up for BJP, a secular face like Bandaru Dattatreya may workout for the national party. In the coming days, the campaigning by AIMIM is mostly likely over the issues affecting Muslim community like the planned protest meeting of United Muslim Front (UMF) in Darrussalam on Friday over ‘triple talaq ordinance’.

Even though the arch rival of the AIMIM, the MBT reorganising itself to contest in the almost all the constituencies in Old City, this time with coalition of Bahujan Left Front it is less likely to upset the apple cart of the AIMIM. While the Congress is also making efforts particularly over the development plank and the seeking support from media houses like Siasat. The TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy recently met Siasat Editor, Zahid Ali Khan in an effort to garner support. The purported list of candidates also started circulating in social media, where some of the detractors who shifted loyalties from AIMIM to Congress are being highlighted as the probable candidates.

Analysts believe that the Assembly elections in this part of the city are not immune to the alleged influence of money and may continue to have greater impact in the constituencies like Chandrayangutta. #KhabarLive