LS polls: Facing a formidable challenger in BJP's Madhavi Latha, AIMIM chief Owaisi files nomination from Hyderabad

Hyderabad (Telangana): Facing a formidable challenger in his bid to secure a fifth term in the Lok Sabha in the form of firebrand BJP leader Madhavi Latha, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday filed his nomination from the prestigious Hyderabad constituency, which is considered a bastion of the Owaisi family.

The four-time MP offered Friday prayers at the Mecca Masjid and led a huge procession before filing his nomination papers from the Hyderabad constituency.

The old city, comprising two Lok Sabha seats--Hyderabad and Secunderabad--will poll for the Lok Sabha on May 13. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 4.

Owaisi, who has served four terms in the Lok Sabha as the elected representative from Hyderabad since 2004, was previously elected as an MLA twice in the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency comprises seven assembly segments--Bahadurpura, Chandrayangutta, Charminar, Goshamahal, Karwan, Malakpet and Yakatpura. All assembly seats, except Goshamahal, are presently held by the AIMIM.

Since 1984, candidates from the Owaisi family or those supported by them, have been elected from Hyderabad, with Asaduddin Owaisi currently serving as the Lok Sabha member from the prestigious seat.

Over the years, the AIMIM has maintained an iron grip on Hyderabad, posting handsome wins consistently since 1984. Their vote share saw a steady rise, reaching 59 per cent in the 2019 general elections, while its closest rival, the Congress, managed only a small percentage of the total votes polled in the constituency.

While the Congress since stormed to the helm of Telangana, trouncing the BRS, it failed to wrest the assembly segments in the Old City from the AIMIM.

The Owaisi family has managed to hold its own in the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency over four decades, with Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, Asaduddin's father, elected an MP from this seat six times--from 1984 to 1999--brushing aside his rivals from the BJP and TDP.

After his father withdrew from active politics in 2004, citing failing health, Asaduddin took the proverbial torch from him and posted comprehensive victories from Hyderabad in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 general elections.

However, the battle for the Lok Sabha, this time, is tipped to be a tough one against fiery BJP candidate Madhavi Latha.

A cultural activist, Latha holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration from Nizam College and a Master's in Political Science from Osmania University.

She was actively involved in the campaign against instant triple talaq, which was criminalised by the Parliament in 2019. Her candidature assumes significance, given Owaisi's opposition to the law which he deemed as an assault on Muslim identity and citizenship.

Beyond her activism, Latha is also an entrepreneur, an NCC cadet, and a professional Bharatanatyam dancer. Also serving as the chairperson of Hyderabad-based Virinchi Hospitals, she said earlier that she sees her candidature as a token of recognition of her extensive charity work spanning nearly two decades. 

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