LS polls: Will AIMIM gamble pay-off for Telangana Congress?

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: One of the bigger surprises this Lok Sabha election was new found bonhomie between the Congress and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Telangana. While the AIMIM is known for being close to whichever party is in power, a section of leaders from the Congress believe that joining hands (even if unofficially) with the AIMIM might be a big gamble, as it might in fact have the opposite of the desired results for the grand old party.

On the final day of election campaigns, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, without naming anyone, asked Muslim voters to choose Congress candidates in some of the Lok Sabha seats (Telangana has 17 Parliament seats). This came as a surprise to many, as it signalled the AIMIM’s complete shift towards the Congress, and away from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

“His words to vote for Congress is likely to backfire as it has consolidated Hindu votes against the Congress, and towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As far as I understand, BJP now stands a chance to even win as many as eight seats. From the beginning some of us were against joining hands with the AIMIM, and only wanted tactical support from the outside,” said a Congress leader who did not want to be quoted.

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He added that Congress leaders in Delhi in fact were against working with the AIMIM, but it was Telangana chief minister and state party president Revanth Reddy who was for it. “He convinced them to let us join hands with AIMIM. If we can get 10 seats then all is well, but if say Congress and BJP get similar numbers then there will be a lot of changes in the party,” the Congress leader told

The Congress in Telangana wanted AIMIM’s support to rope in as much Muslim votes possible especially in seats outside of Hyderabad where the vote share is considerable.

In Telangana, it is an open secret that Revanth Reddy and former party chief and state minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy do not get along. Uttam along with a few others were also reportedly vying for the chief minister’s post. However, Revanth Reddy has so far managed to hold his ground and the party, which won 64 seats, has also seen a few defections from the BRS. The Congress leader also said that more BRS MLAs are likely to defect after the Lok Sabha election results.

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, BJP and BRS are likely to be in three-way contests. The AIMIM is likely to retain the Hyderabad Parliamentary seat, which it has held since 1984. The Congress, which won the Telangana Assembly polls last December, is looking to capitalise on it by winning more seats this time.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BRS won nine seats, while the Congress, BJP and AIMIM secured three, four and one seats respectively.

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