Hyderabad: Manifestos are an integral part of elections in India. In every election, be it for Parliament, a state Assembly or a municipal corporation, contesting political parties release their manifestos to tell voters what they will do if voted to power.
However, there is one political party which never releases manifesto in any election it contests, in Hyderabad, Telangana or any other state.
Unlike other parties, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) doesn’t believe in releasing manifestos. It never released the document in any of the elections it contested since its revival in 1958.
“We don’t release a manifesto. We seek vote on the basis of our performance,” says party chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who is leading the ongoing campaign for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections.
A key force in Hyderabad politics, MIM has been historically playing the role of kingmaker or sharing power with others in the municipal body. The party goes by its slogan ‘Our work is our identity‘.
The party claims to be different from others. “Unlike other parties which become active only during elections, our party works round the year. The elected representatives of the party are always accessible and available to people,” said Owaisi, who is also the member of Lok Sabha from Hyderabad.
The MP, the party’s seven members in Telangana Assembly, two members in Legislative Council and corporators will be available to people at party headquarters ‘Darussalam‘ every day except Fridays. People directly approach them with their problems including the issues related to civic amenities, pointed out a MIM leader.
The party leaders say their corporators like the MPs and state legislators work relentlessly to solve the problems of people relating to drinking water, sewerage system, roads and street lights. During the election campaign, the party highlights the works done and assures people to continue to work for solving their problems.
At the elections meetings, Asaduddin Owaisi, his brother and MIM leader in Telangana Assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi and other leaders lay emphasis on unity to defeat communal forces.
In the December 1 GHMC elections, MIM has fielded candidates in 51 out of 150 divisions. In the previous elections held in 2016, the party had won 44 seats but landslide majority for ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which had won 99 divisions, deprived it of the kingmaker’s role.
This time with the BJP looking to make huge inroads in the TRS vote bank, MIM is hoping to play a key role in deciding who rules GHMC.
In the first elections for GHMC in 2009, MIM had bagged 43 seats and shared the power with the Congress, which had won 52 seats.
The GHMC was formed in 2007 by merging 12 municipalities and 12-gram panchayats surrounding the city with the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH).
MIM was founded 1927 to promote the socio-economic and educational development of Muslims. After Hyderabad State acceded to the Indian Union in 1948, the organisation was banned.
However, in 1958 it was revived with a new constitution by Maulana Abdul Wahid Owaisi, grandfather of Asaduddin Owaisi. A well-known lawyer in those days, Abdul Wahid Owaisi converted it into a political party to fight for the rights of the minorities as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
The AIMIM made its electoral debut in 1959, winning two municipal by-elections in Hyderabad. In 1960, it emerged as the main opposition party in Hyderabad.
Abdul Wahed Owaisi’s son Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi was among the party leaders elected to MCH.
Seen by rivals as a communal party, it underwent image makeover in 1980s when Salahuddin Owaisi made three Hindu corporators of the party Mayors of Hyderabad. Those were the days when Hyderabad used to witness frequent communal tensions.