The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) has decided to expand its base and test electoral waters in Maharashtra in alliance with some prominent Dalit and backward caste organisations, a move that has sent alarm bells ringing in the ruling camp.
This would be for the first time that the MIM will contest any assembly elections outside Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The party has significant presence in some parts of the state. It came second to the Congress in Nanded civic polls in 2012, pushing the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to the third spot.
MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi told HT that his party will contest on substantial number of seats in all regions of the state.
“We decided not to fight Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra as we wanted to check BJP and Shiv Sena. But Congress and NCP failed miserably in doing so,” he said.
Dalits constitute 16% of the total voters in the state while the Muslims’ share is about 13%.
Owaisi confirmed that his party’s alliance talks with Dalit and OBC organisations were at the final stages.
The move has caused panic in both the Congress and the NCP camps and the two parties have stepped up efforts to persuade Owaisi to abandon the plan, arguing that the move will benefit the BJP-Shiv Sena combine as it would cut into secular votes.