The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which has won two seats in the recently concluded assembly elections in Maharashtra has upset the calculations of the parties like Congress and NCP which had always relied on the Muslim votes. Muslims who had traditionally voted for Congress-NCP were disappointed with these parties for using them as a vote bank to win election. This is the first time MIM has contested assembly polls outside Hyderabad. The AIMIM has won Byculla seat in Mumbai and Aurangabad central in the state.
Political analysts were worried about the MIM’s rise and termed that it will only lead to polarization of Muslim votes. On the other hand, the newly elected MIM MLA from Byculla, Waris Yusuf Pathan has said that the party is not communal and will focus on development issues. When AV spoke to Waris Pathan he said, “We are will work for the upliftment of minorities. People have been neglected by the so called secular parties. Our priority will reopen the BMC school in Byculla constituency which was shut down due to financial problems. We also want to provide medical facilities and offer education and employment opportunities to Muslim youth.”
“We have recently made a foray into Maharashtra state. Our party has managed to gain the confidence of people so we will not let them down” added Waris Pathan.
When asked about that MIM is known as party which follows extremist ideology Waris Pathan replied, “We are not against any religion but against ‘some’ ideology. The voting trends show that people belonging to Hindu, Muslim, Dalit community has voted for me. It is not possible to emerge victorious by relying on the votes of one community alone. I would like to thank all the voters of my constituency.”
Majlis is a party which comprises candidates possessing good educational qualifications. The MIM’s victory has forced Congress and NCP to rethink about their poll strategy. It contested 24 seats, including 14 in Mumbai, mostly from Muslim and Dalit populated pockets. Twelve of the 14 seats in Mumbai were either held by the Congress or Nationalist Congress Party. The party stood second in three and third in nine constituencies. The party now plans to expand its base in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Nobody ever thought that the MIM would pose a challenge to any party in Maharashtra. The party president Asaduddin Owaisi and his brother Akbaruddin Owaisi targeted the Congress and NCP in their election campaign for playing communal politics in the garb of secularism. The Owaisi brothers toured extensively in Maharashtra during the campaign trail and drew huge crowds even as the police issued notices to them against giving provocative speeches.