The recently concluded Telangana Assembly elections witnessed a shift in voting patterns, leading to a victory of the Congress party in the 2023 Telangana State elections.
Muslims, who make up 13% of Telangana’s population of 3.82 crores, had a decisive influence in at least 45 of the 119 assembly seats. In the past two elections, in 2014 and 2018, most of them voted for the BRS, which had an alliance with the All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
However, this time, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Telangana Muslim Organisations, a coalition of various Muslim groups, decided to offer conditional support to Congress.
The JAC issued a statement a week before the polls, on November 30, urging Muslims to unite and vote for Congress, to pressure the party to implement the promises made in the Minorities’ Declarations within six months of coming to power.
The JAC’s state convenor, Syed Saleem Pasha, also warned Congress that Muslim support for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would depend on the party’s commitment to the advancement and progress of the Muslim community.
The JAC’s appeal seems to have worked, as the Muslim voters tilted the result in Congress’ favour in 10 constituencies, where the BRS had sitting MLAs. These included constituencies such as Mahbubnagar, Huzurnagar, Warangal East, Khammam, Bodhan, Ibrahimpatnam, Shadnagar, Ramagundam, Nizamabad Rural and Nalgonda.
The minority votes also gave the crucial lead to Congress candidates in other seats, such as Warangal West, which the party had not won in the last four elections.
The BRS, on the other hand, suffered from the lack of Muslim leaders in its ranks and relied heavily on the AIMIM to get the Muslim votes. However, the AIMIM failed to deliver, as it won only seven seats, one less than its previous tally.
BJP Faces Major Setback
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), aspiring to become a formidable alternative to the BRS, also faced a major setback, as some of its key leaders which included Eatala Rajender, Bandi Sanjay, Dharmapuri Arvind, and Raghunandan Rao tasted defeat.
Eatala Rajender, who quit the BRS to join the BJP, lost in both the Huzurabad and Gajwel constituencies, where he challenged his former colleague and BRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Bandi Sanjay, the BJP’s national general secretary and Karimnagar MP, lost in Karimnagar against BRS leader Gangula Kamalakar.
The BJP’s poor performance was partly attributed to the decision to remove Sanjay as the state chief before the elections, which was seen by political observers as a sign of internal rifts and a lack of strategy.
Sanjay also alleged that the results were manipulated by Kamalakar and demanded a recount due to malfunctioning EVMs in two polling booths.
The BJP managed to win only eight seats, amid a two-way battle between the Congress and the BRS. The eight constituencies won by the BJP included: Adilabad, Amberpet, Goshamahal, Jubilee Hills, Kamareddy, Khairatabad, Musheerabad, and Secunderabad.
The most surprising victory belonged to BJP candidate K. Venkat Ramana Reddy in Kamareddy, where he defeated both the BRS and Congress chiefs, KCR and Revanth Reddy.