Telangana polls: AIMIM to support BRS again, to contest 9 seats in Hyderabad

Party chief Asaduddin Owaisi announced the names of six candidates. The party will also contest the Jubilee Hills seat, to which Congress has fielded former Indian cricketer Azharuddin.
Asaduddin Owaisi
Asaduddin Owaisi
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The Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will contest nine seats in the November 30 Assembly elections. AIMIM chief Owaisi on Friday, November 3, announced that his party will contest the Rajendranagar and Jubilee Hills seats apart from their seven seats, which they had won in the earlier Assembly elections. The party will again support the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in the elections. Two AIMIM legislators – Charminar MLA Mumtaz Ahmed Khan and Yakutpura MLA Syed Pasha Quadri – have been dropped, making way for younger candidates in the party.

Owaisi also released names for six AIMIM candidates and said that candidates for the Bahadurpura, Jubilee Hills, and Rajendranagar seats will be announced later. Nominations for the polls began on Friday and will close on November 10. He also stated that the party’s status quo with the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) remains, adding that the AIMIM will continue to ask Muslims to vote for BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), whom Owaisi referred to as “mamu.” 

“I am saying vote for Mamu. Wherever we are contesting, our kite will fly. I would request you to wait as we will announce the Bahadurpura candidate’s name very shortly,” said Owaisi at a press conference at his party office in Hyderabad. The AIMIM currently holds the Charminar, Yakutpura, Bahadurpura, Karwan, Malakpet, Charminar and Nampally seats. Except for Nampally, the others all fall in the old city area. In the 2018 polls, the party also contested the Rajendranagar seat and the Jubilee Hills constituency in the 2014 state election. 

All eyes were on the AIMIM for the Jubilee Hills seat as well, which has 27% of Muslim votes. With Owaisi announcing that the party will contest from the seat, it is likely to make it tougher for the Congress, which has fielded former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. The BRS has renominated sitting MLA Maganti Gopinath for the Jubilee Hills constituency, considered to be an upscale area. Most of the city’s wealthy names stay in the Banjara and Jubilee Hills areas, which are the most expensive in terms of real estate, and fall under the Jubilee Hills constituency.

“I have no friends. His  (Azharuddin) brothers are my friends, and we studied together in Nizam College, but I don’t know him,” said Owaisi, when asked about Azharuddin’s candidature. 

The AIMIM candidates are Akbarudin Owaisi for Chandrayangutta, Mir Zulfiqar Ali for Charminar, Kausar Mohiuddin for Karwan, Ahmed Bin Balala for Malakpet, Mohd Majid Hussain for Nampally and Jaffer Hussain Meraj for Yakutpura. 

Of these, Zulfiqar Ali and Majid Hussain are the two new faces and are both ex-Mayors of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Jaffer Hussain Meraj is the sitting Nampally MLA, and he will now contest from the Yakutpura seat, which was vacated by Mumtaz Khan. 

According to a senior AIMIM leader, Pasha Quadri will not be contesting as he is unwell. Six-time MLA Mumtaz Khan was asked to make way for the younger generation. Of the seven MLA seats the AIMIM has, the candidate for the Bahadurpura seat has not been announced. There has been speculation that Nooruddin Owaisi,  son of Akbaruddin Owaisi (Asauddin’s brother), might be named as a candidate for the Bahadurpura seat.

“Both the BJP and the Congress are the same. There is a balance of power here, as there is a regional party (BRS),” said the AIMIM chief. In the 2018 state elections, the BRS won 88 out of 119 seats, with Asaduddin Owaisi supporting it and holding rallies outside of Hyderabad in support of KCR. The AIMIM then won the seven seats in the city, which it has been winning since 2009.

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