With the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), led by Asaduddin Owaisi, likely to contest more than 30 seats in the state Assembly election, the parties that have been getting patronage of the Muslim voters are worried about the division of the votes in Muslim-dominated areas.
The AIMIM plans to field candidates in Byculla, Mankhurd, Jogeshwari, Kurla, Malad and Andheri constituencies in Mumbai as well as other parts of the state including Mumbra, Malegaon, Nanded, Aurangabad, Solapur. The party has 11 sitting corporators in the civic body of Nanded in Marathwada, which still has the influence of the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The AIMIM has its roots in the Razakar movement, which supported the Nizam post-independence.
“We are fielding our candidates in more 30 seats because we believe that none of the parties, which enjoyed the support of the community, have done anything for it. We have been getting good support from the community,” said Abid Sayyed, Mumbai party convener.
In a meeting held at Nagpada two days ago, Owaisi had blasted ‘secular parties’ such as the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which have failed to give due representation – in the ratio of their population – to the community and asked why not a single Muslim MP was not sent to Delhi from the state. He also said the community needs a party such as the AIMIM, which restored Wakf properties in Maharashtra that were taken over by the land mafia.
The clashes between AIMIM and NCP workers at Mumbra, the constituency led by state minister Jitendra Awhad, two days ago were believed to be indicative of the disturbance the incumbent forces are facing. “AIMIM’s public meetings have been getting a good response, but I doubt if the popularity will translate into the votes. But their candidates will divide the Muslim votes, which ultimately work against the interest of the community and in favour of the Shiv Sena and BJP,” said Sarfaraz Arzoo, editor of Urdu Daily Hindustan.
“One cannot deny that the AIMIM’s candidates will divide the Muslim votes. To avoid the division, we have decided to support the secular parties and may field only 8 to 10 candidates in seat sharing arrangements with the Congress and the NCP, ” said Abu Asim Azmi, state chief of Samajwadi Party.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said it is unfortunate that the candidates of one communal party will benefit other communal parties such as the BJP and Sena.
The ruling Congress-NCP alliance is also concerned about the emergence of the AIMIM because their vote share in the Muslim-dominated constituencies had dropped in the LS elections.