Hyderabad: Almost 34 years after losing its presence, Congress party is making serious efforts to gain entry into the Old City of Hyderabad in next Assembly elections.
By inviting AICC President Rahul Gandhi to participate in the Sadbhava Yatra Commemoration Day event at historic Charminar on October 20, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has played yet another master stroke by sending a strong message that the Congress party was quite serious towards elections in the Old City. Except for Goshamahal, Congress had almost negligible presence in six other constituencies of Malaket, Karwan, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Yakutpura and Bahadurpura in 2014 elections.
According to sources, Uttam Kumar Reddy got several surveys done in the Old City to understand the real political situation. The findings of surveys were quite encouraging and also shocking. The basic analysis of electoral statistics revealed that the MIM lacked any huge mass support as it claims to enjoy in the Old City. The polling percentages in all seven seats ranged from 47-56% or an average of 52%. Therefore, almost 48% of people in Old City never voted. Further, on an average, MIM got just 30% of actual votes to win six Assembly seats in the Old City.
The survey done by the Congress chief also revealed that the MIM’s popularity graph was on the decline. It was first noticed in the GHMC elections of 2016 when the Congress party, for the first time in history, campaigned aggressively against the MIM. Although the MIM won 33 wards, it got 100,226 less votes than what it got in General Elections 2014. Compared to this, the performance of Congress party had improved in the Old City with an increase in its vote share in Malakpet, Charminar, Yakutpura and Bahadurpura Assembly segments. Another analysis on the MIM’s performance in the GHMC elections revealed that the party actually had the support of just 19% voters in the Greater Hyderabad while remaining 81% either voted for other parties or did not vote at all.
“MIM was able to win from the Old City since the last three decades only due to the strategic silence of Congress party. We never fielded tough candidates allowing MIM to register easy victory in most of the seats. But this time, Congress is too serious in not only contesting those seats, but winning most of them, if not all,” Uttam Kumar Reddy had said after reviewing arrangements for Rahul Gandhi’s meeting at Charminar on Wednesday.
Historically, Sadbhavana Yatra Commemoration Day used to be a low key affair. Apparently for the first time, Uttam Kumar Reddy linked the event with elections and made it high profile with the participation of Rahul Gandhi himself. “The BJP Government at the Centre has strengthened the communal forces under its regime. It has unleashed a wave of hatred and intolerance across the country. While TRS strengthened the BJP and acted as an agent of PM Narender Modi, MIM blindly supported TRS. Therefore, all the three parties have contributed in strengthening the communal and divisive forces in India. In view of this, there is an urgent need to revive the message of peace and brotherhood given by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi through Sadbhavana Yatra on October 20, 1990 at Charminar,” he said.
According to sources, the Congress party would enter into full campaign mode in the Old City after the visit of Rahul Gandhi. The Congress party is planning to focus on the issues related to lack of development in the Old City area. Unemployment, housing, health, education, civic infrastructure and amenities are the key issues which are likely to be raised by the Congress party in its campaign. A special strategy is also being worked out to counter the MIM leaders who usually resort to character assassination and use of filthy and abusive language against their main opponents. “Now the time has changed. People will not get fooled by the fake and tall claims by any politician. MIM cannot survive just by exploiting the sentiments of poor people on the assumption that they (people) have no alternate to MIM in the Old City. We (Congress) are the best alternate and people will choose it this time,” said a senior leader of Congress party.