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All roads in Telangana’s capital, Hyderabad, lead to the city’s world-famous biryani stalls. From road-side kiosks to towering restaurants, there is no way to escape the Hyderabadi biryani – making the delicacy the very essence of the city.
The Quint set out to find out what the mood was in light of the upcoming state Assembly elections in Telangana, over a plate of piping hot biryani.
Located in the heart of old Hyderabad is Madina Hotel, which is as old as independent India. The Madina, as it is fondly called, is considered one of the most popular addas of the city – brimming with conversations about biryani and of course, politics.
Telangana’s first Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is quite the favorite among the customers of this restaurant.
“The victory will be K Chandrashekar Rao's. There has been lot of improvement. The roads are well laid out. Poor people have been given houses and shops for business. They have even increased the money they give part of the Shaadi Mubaarak scheme,” said Mohammed Huz, a resident of the city.
The Kalyana Lakshmi or the Shaadi Mubarak is a Telangana government welfare scheme which provides financial assistance for marriages. Families who need the assistance can get Rs 1,00,000. According to reports, over three lakh families have benefitted from the scheme.
Like KCR, there is also vocal support for his son and IT Minister KT Rama Rao.
"“Being an IT minister, KTR is doing a lot. KCR is also doing a lot. A lot of good work has been done after Telangana government took over. There was Congress and TDP before this, but there were no improvements then.”" - Vishnu, Resident, Hyderabad
All Is Not Well in Biryani Land or For KCR
However, not all is well in the land of biryani. There is strong criticism against the Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader. From being accused of amassing wealth for personal gain, to not being able to meet the basic needs of the people, a section of customers at Madina feels that there is room for improvement.
A senior citizen, who did not want to be identified, said:
"“His son is a minister, his nephew is a minister. He has made a house of Rs 1,000 crore. His house is well-built so he does not want to come out. The house has been built in Camp Office with government money. Only if you come out will you know what issues the people are facing.”" -
While KCR claims that there are no power cuts in the city, the citizens say otherwise.
“There are a lot of issues. Irrigation, drainage, water, electricity. There are basic needs. KCR says there are no power cuts, but it is happening for us.”
Favourite Among Minorities
Like the biryani, however, KCR seems to be the eternal favourite among the Muslim minority. Take Asifuddin, for example. He is a cab driver and the sole earning member of his family. Eight people, including children, are dependent on him for food and basic needs.
“Hyderabad Muslims are not very well read and there are many people in each family. We want one person to at least be educated and we want the children to be able to apply for government jobs in future. So I feel it will be better if KCR comes,” he says, with hope in his eyes.
But, what does Mohammed Jabri, a third-generation Madina hotel owner, who has seen had scores of conversations with the many customers, think? Who will stake their rightful claim over Hyderabad’s throne?
“Whoever has done the work, will win the elections.”
. Read more on Telangana Elections 2018 by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsHyderabadi Biryani Pe Charcha: KCR Or Cong, Who’ll Win Telangana? . Read more on Telangana Elections 2018 by The Quint.