AIMIM to contest Gujarat Assembly polls: Asaduddin Owaisi

Ahmedabad: The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will contest the 2022 Assembly elections in Gujarat and the party has already started preparations for the polls, its president Asaduddin Owaisi said on Monday.

He said the AIMIM state unit will finalise the number of seats to be contested in Gujarat, which has a bipolar politics for years with the Congress and the BJP as main contenders for power.

Talking to reporters during his visit to Ahmedabad, Owaisi said the Hyderabad-headquartered party will contest the elections with all its might and see to it that its candidates enter the 182-member Assembly in Gujarat, being ruled by the BJP for more than two decades now.

“We will contest the 2022 Assembly elections in Gujarat with all our might and it will be our effort to see that members of the AIMIM make it to the Assembly,” the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad said.

He said one of the purposes of his Ahmedabad visit is to discuss with the party’s Gujarat unit preparations for the polls.

“One of the reasons behind my visit to Ahmedabad is to thank the people for supporting our candidates in the last (local body) elections. I am here to meet party corporators who won the local body elections (held early this year) and interact with them.

“Another purpose (of the visit) is to review the preparations for the upcoming (Assembly) elections,” the AIMIM leader said, adding he will visit Gujarat again to take stock of poll preparations.

“Our state president (Sabir Kabliwala) and the Gujarat team will decide on how many seats we are going to contest the elections. We are confident of getting good support,” he said.

The AIMIM state unit has identified several Assembly seats and work was on to strengthen the party in those constituencies, Owaisi said without disclosing any number.

“We will also contest on Hindu-majority seats as we have to get votes of all (and not just Muslims),” he said.

During his visit, Owaisi met Ahmedabad Congress corporator Shehzad Khan, and said he did so as the latter worked hard during protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Rubbishing allegations by the Congress that the AIMIM works as a “B-team” of the BJP, he asked why there are only three Muslim MLAs in Gujarat.

He said there should have been at least 10 to 11 Muslim MLAs in the state Assembly and sought to know who was responsible for not a single candidate from the minority community winning Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat since 1984.

“Can the Congress explain why it gets repeatedly defeated in Gujarat? Is it because of Muslim or non-Muslim votes? Not a single Congress candidate won in the 2019 parliamentary elections (in Gujarat). Party leader Rahul Gandhi lost in Amethi. How was he defeated? We did not have any candidate contesting against him,” the AIMIM president said.

“(Rahul Gandhi) wins from Wayanad (in Kerala) because of around 35 per cent minority voters (in that constituency). We are not concerned about allegations of the B-team, people are watching, and they will decide,” Owaisi said.

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