After local body poll success, AIMIM aiming for Gujarat assembly next

Hyderabad: After successfully pulling-off limited victories in the just concluded local body polls in Gujarat, the stage is all set for the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to make its debut in the 2023 state assembly elections. 

While AIMIM chief and member of Parliament from the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat Asaduddin Owaisi has not said anything with regard to contesting state polls in Gujarat, party leaders from Hyderabad said that it would be the “next logical step” for the AIMIM. 

A day earlier (February 23), in the results from the six municipal corporations that went to polls, the AIMIM managed to make its debut by winning 7 out of the 22 seats it had contested in six wards. In Gujarat, each ward of a municipal corporation has four seats. It had contested in three out of the six municipal corporations.

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“We contested in some of the seats of the local body elections. Imtiyaz Jaleel (Aurangabad MP) had also accompanied Asad sahab, who was in Gujarat yesterday (February 23). We contested in 3 out of 6 local body polls. Asad Sahab has not announced anything, but eventually that is what we will do,” said a senior AIMIM leader from Hyderabad, who did not want to be quoted.

Over the past few weeks, Asaduddin Owaisi has been addressing public meetings in various places across Gujarat. This is for the first time that the AIMIM is trying to set up base in the state, which is a stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It comes just a few months after the AIMIM’s successful Bihar campaign. 

In the recently held Bihar state election, the AIMIM manage to win five seats. The party is also likely to contest in the upcoming West Bengal state elections, where it is trying to cobble an alliance with Abbas Siddiqui, the head of the Furfura Sharif dargah. However, there is no confirmation on whether seat-sharing has been finalized.

As of now, it has two MLAs and one MP in Maharashtra, other than the seven MLAs and one MP that is has in its bastion of Hyderabad (Owaisi). The party has also been winning the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat since 1984. Owaisi, it is learnt, is also considering spreading his wings in other states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well.

“Asad wants to create a following for the AIMIM, and wants to consolidate Muslim votes. He said in the Parliament earlier that there is no Muslim votebank, but that there is a Hindu votebank. But he himself is trying to create the former now,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy. 

Reddy pointed out that except for the AIMIM, BJP, and a few others like the All India United Democratic Front in Assam, no parties seeking votes in the name of religion. “Asad claims that he has Dalits and weaker sections supporting AIMIM. That is not true, because the name of your party and your attire say something else,” he added. 

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