People of Old City need courage to vote for change: Feroze Khan on contesting against AIMIM former Mayor in Nampally

It is his dedication to the fight that has made him stand up against All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in the Old City of Hyderabad.

By Kaniza Garari  Published on  8 Nov 2023 4:52 AM GMT
People of Old City need courage to vote for change: Feroze Khan on contesting against AIMIM former Mayor in Nampally

Hyderabad: Mohammed Feroze Khan is one politician who even after losing an election does not shy away from meeting people. He is known in his constituency as the ‘man who walks into his office even after losing an election the very next morning’.

The emotional trauma of a loss in any venture is of low confidence, but for Feroze Khan, it is another chance to try hard and work till victory.

It is his dedication to the fight that has made him stand up against All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in the Old City of Hyderabad.

In an interview with News Meter, Feroze Khan details his long fight in Nampally and the gains he made.

Q. What have you learnt from the last three elections against AIMIM? Your last loss was with a margin of 9675 votes?

Bogus voters play a part in Nampally polls. This year, I have been tracking the list of the Election Commission of India and got 40,000 bogus voters deleted from my constituency. There were 10,000 voters listed with ECI who have died in the last 20 years. Their death certificates were submitted by my team. There are more than 30,000 people who have shifted from Nampally to other parts of the city and state. But their names continue to be on the records in the Nampally division. Tracking and tracing them and getting the names deleted from this constituency has been a Herculean task. Despite these efforts, there are still double and triple voters registered in my constituency due to the lacuna in the system.

Q2. Despite these efforts why are you still saying that there are bogus voters?

Old city is not like the rest of Hyderabad. Here one name is played around. For example, Mohammed Feroze Khan is one voter, Feroze Khan is another name of the same voter, and Feroze is the third voter ID of the same voter. These three voters are one person. But a few changes in the photo and the votes are cast. In the case of women, we have found multiple names. They are the biggest voter base for AIMIM. They come from the bastis of Nampally and dealing with them is a challenge. All these burkha-clad women will camp from 5 o'clock on November 29 till 5 pm on November 30. They come in hordes to the polling stations and each of them has dual cards. Confronting them is not easy.

Q. Where is this challenge most noted?

There are 277 polling booths in Nampally of which 100 booths are notorious for these activities. Women hold voter ID cards with photos of their younger selves. When the police check them, they are middle-aged, they question how can they be pulled up as they have grown over the years. I have approached the Election Commission of India to station central forces in these 100 booths as the local police are not able to handle these women. The ECI has promised 55 booths but that is not sufficient.

Q. Your contender this time is former mayor Majid Hussain from AIMIM who is popular for the work that he has done for the people during his term as mayor. How do you plan to fight him?

If AIMIM plays it fair, Majid Hussain can be defeated because there is a smoke screen of popularity created about him. The real works are far from the expectations. If there was real work done then Nampally would have been a developed constituency. These bastis, which are a major vote bank of AIMIM, would have been developed. Where is a good government educational institution, or government hospital in this constituency? Hyderabad has a Hi-tech city, Pharma City, but Old City has no development. Whom should we blame? Why has Old City not been developed? Why is the rest of Hyderabad developing? What we have in Old City are no development, rowdy sheeters, and drug addicts. In the last one week, there have been four murders in Nampally – why?

Q. What do you propose to do?

We need good education, good functioning government hospitals, and infrastructure in Nampally. There is a need to develop parks in residential colonies and keep them free of drug addicts. Protect the open playgrounds if any are left. There is a nexus between those who are elected and the administration due to which these facilities have not been developed. People living in this area are suffering due to this nexus.

Q. You have been taking on the AIMIM and some people say that post elections there is also a backlash from them? How do you cope with it?

I have been fighting for the last 15 years and have registered cases against them. I have been attacked multiple times but survived. I will continue to fight till I defeat them. In Nampally, the fight is not between AIMIM and the Congress party, it is between AIMIM and Feroze Khan.

Q. How is your cadre able to sustain the pressure?

If you check the election results in 2009, the margin of votes between AIMIM and Congress was 6,799. In 2014, it was 17,296 and in 2018 it was 9,675. These show that there is an acceptance among the people but the defeat is engineered due to the unfair practices. We have tried our level best to curb these practices this time. The cadre is attacked, taunted, troubled, and disturbed in multiple ways but I must thank them as they have stood strong and continued to fight.

Q. Isn’t there a sentimental value attached to AIMIM that is more powerful than what you are presenting?

The sentimental value of AIMIM is their call. They always say “Islam kahtre meih hai, community ko khatra hai”. This is the card that they have been regularly playing. Their age-old tactics have been that they send their cadre for the morning prayers in masjids and tell people ‘how things are bad in the country and how they must be supported to stay safe. These are the steps taken by them but we have worked on the ground to diffuse most of these myths and I am very hopeful that people will show ‘courage’ this time. What the people of Old City need the most is ‘courage to vote for change’.

Next Story