Moving away from the norm of releasing a party manifesto ahead of the civic elections, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) declared on Saturday that they don’t intend to publish one for their party. The party has fielded 62 candidates in the upcoming civic polls, according to party MLA Waris Pathan.
A manifesto is a document released by political parties, which includes promises a party makes to the public which they intend to fulfill over the next five years if they are elected to power. The party’s Mumbai president, Shakir Patni, however, said, “Whatever has been said at the public meetings is the manifesto and we will fulfill all of the promises in the wards in which we’ll win.”
For the upcoming BMC elections, while the Shiv Sena has already released its manifesto on January 23, the BJP and the Congress are expected to release their list of promises soon. Referring to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court which stated that ‘religion, race, caste, community or language would not be allowed to play any role in the electoral process, members of the AIMIM, including Yusuf Balala, a member of the legislative assembly from Hyderabad, said that the party’s focus would be on all minority communities and not just Muslims.
At a rally at Nagpada on January 1, however, the party president Asaduddin Owaisi had cited ‘discrimination’ against Muslims. He had gone on to state that if the party came to power, he would ensure that Rs 7,770 crores of the entire BMC budget of Rs 37,500 crore would be spent on amenities including better civic schools and hospitals in Muslim-dominated areas. The amount was calculated keeping in mind that 21 percent of the city’s population is of Muslims.
Defending the party president’s stand, Patni said, ”It may have been a slip of tongue and I am sure that he meant development for all the people belonging to various minorities, including Dalits, Parsis, among other communities.” Among the 62 candidates representing the party, four candidates are non-Muslim.
The party’s focus is on areas like Govandi, Jogeshwari, Bandra, Mumbadevi, Byculla and Kurla, where they fielded between 4-6 candidates. The party is also fielding a candidate, Aamir Vakil, from Colaba, who will stand against Makarand Narvekar, the citizen corporator who recently joined the BJP, and Puran Doshi, a three-term corporator from the Congress.