The entry of 48-year-old Waris Pathan, son of a retired judge, in politics was accidental.
The AIMIM, which was then the newest entrant on the political scene, was gaining popularity among Muslim pockets around two years ago. They were in search of high-profile candidates for the 2014 Assembly elections to make their presence felt in Mumbai. Many builders, social workers and media personnel were contacted, but all of them turned down the offer. Finally, someone suggested Bandra-based lawyer Waris Pathan’s name, as he had represented a 1993 bomb blast accused and actor Salman Khan in his hit-and-run case.
Pathan, who was holidaying in Dubai with his family, was contacted and he arrived just a day before the last day of filing the nomination. His campaigning was quite subdued and he hardly spent money, compared to his formidable rivals. He did not imagine a victory while facing Congress’ Madhu Chavan, BJP’s candidate with the same name and Geeta Gawli, daughter of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli.
He, however, managed a win thanks to many factors -- consolidation of Muslim votes in his favour, a rebel Congress candidate and an anti-establishment wave. Now, Pathan is the face of the AIMIM in Mumbai, as he is seen moving from one television studio to another, espousing the cause of the party. For Pathan, joining the legal fraternity was a natural choice as his father Yusuf Pathan was a sessions court judge. After spending is childhood at Nagpada, Pathan shifted to the plush Bandra area.
Even after becoming a politician, Pathan says he misses his law practice. “As a lawyer, I have seen the injustice meted out to minorities and Dalits. AIMIM gave me a platform to work for these people,” said Pathan.
For his opponents, Pathan is more visible on television than in his constituency. But for Pathan, his next aim is the 2017 civic elections.