Confident after winning 33 seats in Mumbai civic elections, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) now plans to take out a ‘rath yatra’ ahead of 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The party state unit has drawn up an elaborate programme for poll campaign, which will be led by its firebrand member of Parliament (MP) from Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi.
“The ‘rath’ is being built. We intend to launch the ‘yatra’ from west UP,” said UP president of the outfit Shaukat Ali. Equipped with big LCD screens, the rath will showcase speeches of Owaisi largely focusing on the ruling Samajwadi Party’s ‘failure’ to fulfill its promises to the Muslims.
“Be it job quota, establishment of exclusive education hubs for the community, Urdu medium schools or release of innocent Muslims framed in anti-terror cases, the SP has let the Muslims down,” said Ali.
“We have planned 10 public meetings and will start our campaign by month-end from Sambhal, Amroha, Rampur, Badaun, Kairana, Moradabad etc,” he said adding that demonetisation had delayed the under-construction rath and the party’s poll schedule.
After its negotiations with other smaller regional parties failed, the AIMIM has decided to go it alone in the state.
The party has already selected around 40 candidates, while another 55 have also been short-listed. Ali said the rath yatra would travel to the assembly segments from where the party’s candidates would be contesting.
“Our enrolment drive has received good response from these cities and we already have around 8 lakh members,” said Shaukat.
The seats chosen by the outfit have a large number of Muslim voters. According to the 2011 census, Sambhal has 77.67% Muslim voters, , followed by Amroha 73.80%, Kairana 80.74, Rampur 50.57, Moradabad 46.79 and Badaun 43.94%.
Because of his inflammatory speeches, Owaisi has been denied permission by authorities to hold open public meetings in communally sensitive cities like Kanpur, Agra, Azamgarh and Saharanpur.
“Our leader is blamed for inflammatory comments and not allowed to hold public meetings while those accused of Muzaffarnagar riots are honoured,” pointed out Ali.