In a move that can impact political winds in Andhra Pradesh, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Chief Asaduddin Owaisi has declared his support for the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assembly. 

As the battle for winning the mandate appears to be a tight-rope walk for the ruling YSRCP led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and the Telugu Desam-Jana Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Front led by TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu, AIMIM’s support may have some significant implications on the voting pattern.

The Muslim population in Andhra Pradesh is 80.82 lakh (9.56 percent) of the total 8.46 crore as per government estimates, and the voters of this community can play a decisive role in some constituencies in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra. 

Jagan Reddy, according to party sources, enjoys support from many members of the Muslim community and is banking on their continued support in the ensuing elections as well. His manifesto promises ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh for the women of minorities.

The endorsement of Owaisi is expected to further help the YSRCP consolidate its hold on Muslim voters. Even though MIM is not in the fray in the AP polls, Owaisi does command respect in some quarters of the Muslim population.

TDP’s move

TDP’s chief Naidu is making a desperate attempt to woo the Muslim voters by promising to ‘fight for the preservation’ of four per cent reservations for Muslims in the State. His other promises include financial assistance of ₹5,000 per mosque per month and the setting up of the Noor Bhasha Foundation with an annual allocation of ₹100 crore.

However, it remains to be seen how the electoral alliance with the BJP is going to impact the voting patterns in Andhra Pradesh.