Updated: February 25, 2021 7:30:21 pm
Winning seven seats in the elections to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has become the first non-Congress opposition party to be in the AMC Board with a considerable number of seats after decades.
The civic body will be ruled by the BJP, which won 159 of the 192 seats, while the Congress has 25 corporators.
In its first elections in Gujarat, the AIMIM had fielded 21 candidates in Ahmedabad, the only municipal corporation where it contested.
The only non-Muslim candidate among the seven winners is Binaben Parmar (30), who won from a seat reserved for women in Jamalpur ward.
Attributing her victory to the “failure” and “apathy” of sitting councillors towards local issues, Binaben said,
“Residents of Jamalpur are disappointed and angry with both the Congress and as BJP as even after ages, issues of basic facilities including road, sewage and electricity remain unresolved.”
A Raikhad resident who contested her maiden election, Binaben said, “I had never thought of contesting an election or entering politics. But when approached by the party, I felt that I could do good for the public.”
The AIMIM won the entire panel of four seats in the Congress bastion Jamalpur and also wrested three of the four seats in Maktampura ward from Congress.
Senior politicians see this as a return of a third front in the AMC, after a long time.
“In the early 1980s too there were three parties-Congress (O), Congress (I) and BJP. After 1987 when BJP came in majority for the first time, it has been mostly a two-party AMC board. This is after decades that a third front or a party with this many number of candidates has been elected in the AMC,” said former MoS Defence and seven-time MP Harin Pathak, 73, who started his political career with Jan Sangh in 1967 and was elected as a corporator thrice from the BJP bastion Khadia ward.
Congress sources cite infighting over denial of tickets to sitting councillors and senior leaders as the reason for the decline in the number of seats – from 50 in the last civic body polls to 25 this time.
They also feel that giving party tickets to popular sitting councillors, including Shahnawaz Sheikh and leader of opposition Dinesh Sharma, from other wards may have helped in the victory of the AIMIM candidates.
“After denial of a ticket by Congress in 2015, I did not even ask for one this time. There is a lot of internal politics in the party which I know was the reason I was denied a ticket back then. Also, people actually working at the ground level without a godfather are never considered for a ticket or party leadership,” said 59-year -old Mushtaq Khadiwal, former Congress corporator from Jamalpur, who joined AIMIM and won from Jamalpur ward.
Congress party’s infighting over distribution of tickets in Jamalpur ward, where the AIMIM wrested all the four seats from Congress, was already in news.
In the Maktampura ward, created after the delimitation of AMC wards in 2015, the only sitting councillor of Congress who retained his seat was Haji Asratbaig, while the AIMIM won the other three seats.
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