Congress likely to field Sameer Waliullah from Hyderabad LS seat

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: The Congress leadership is likely to announce the name of city District Congress Committee (DCC) chief Sameer Waliullah as the candidate for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat. He will be taking on sitting MP and All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi. The decision over candidacy for the seat has been delayed, as the state leadership has seemingly built bridges and come to an understanding with the AIMIM.

Congress party sources from Hyderabad told that Sameer Waliullah’s candidature will be announced soon. “It should be announced within a day or two,” said a senior leader from the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC). Moreover, the party was also slightly embarrassed this week after party leader Feroze Khan (who lost the Nampally seat to the AIMIM in last year’s Assembly polls) said that both sides have come to a “compromise”.

Though the state leadership has distanced itself from Feroze Khan’s comment, other Congress leaders confirmed that some sort of an understanding exists with the AIMIM. The development is important as Asaduddin Owaisi, who broke-off ties with the grand old party in 2012, developed close ties with Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) supremo and ex-Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).

When contacted, Waliullah refused to comment and said that whatever decision the party takes, will be out soon. He however said that there will be no shortcoming in the Congress’s campaign when asked if the party is going soft on the AIMIM.

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AIMIM’s ‘friendly’ overtures with Congress

In fact, even in the 2023 December state elections, Owaisi and KCR both maintained that their parties were “friendly” with each other. The Hyderabad MP, like in the 2018 state polls, asked Muslims to vote for the BRS in the state. However, with KCR losing the elections, things changed quickly under incumbent Telangana chief minister Revanth Reddy.

The development is interesting given that the AIMIM has bee consistently criticising the Congress ever since it broke ties with it a decade ago during the joint Andhra Pradesh state. After the creation of Telangana, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad Lok Sabha Asaduddin Owaisi found himself a convenient ally in BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).

The Congress’s reluctance to put up a strong candidate and delay in announcing a name for the Hyderabad seat is an indication that it is being done with an understanding with the AIMIM. Prior to this, speculation was rife that the Congress would support AIMIM’s rival Majilis Bachao Tehreek’s (MBT) Amjadullah Khan for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat. However, this has been dismissed by Congress leaders.

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Amjadullah Khan had nearly won the Yakutpura seat in last year’s Assembly elections, losing by only 878 votes. His near victory has questioned the AIMIM’s popularity in the Old City of Hyderabad, from where it has been winning seven Assembly seats since 2009. The MBT chief earlier told that he will be contesting on his own for the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

”The central leadership did receive a proposal to put up Amjadullah Khan, but it did not go through as the MBT is a very small party. It does not even have corporators. There were talks last year to support MBT and not contest, but then the Congress leadership did not go through with it,” the Congress leader stated.

Delays over name for Hyderabad seat

Prior to Sameer Waliullah’s name, It was earlier reported that Supreme Court Lawyer Shahnaz Tabassum would be fielded. Moreover, it was reported that senior Muslim leaders from within the party were also unhappy with her name, as she was an ‘outsider’. That may have led to her name being dropped. Aside from that, tennis star Sania Mirza’s name was also doing rounds for the Hyderabad seat. However, that has also been dismissed.

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