All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) headed by Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi has finally decided to set its foot in Gujarat and is likely to contest the local bodies elections scheduled in October this year.
AIMIM, which initially operated in Hyderabad only, expanded itself in Maharashtra in the last assembly elections and managed to win two seats. It also won several seats in municipal polls in Nanded and other towns bordering Telangana.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone from Mumbai, Syed Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, said :’Gujarat is very much on the top of our priority list and we will certainly set up our unit after holding discussions with groups volunteering to support us”.
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‘We are getting lot of invitations from Ahmedabad. I have been told that there is lot of enthusiasm for AIMIM among the youths in Ahmedabad and other cities’, said Jaleel.
He, however, said that he and other party leaders were currently engaged in Bengaluru municipal elections and had no time to visit Gujarat immediately.
‘We plan to visit Gujarat any time after August 25 when Bengaluru polls would be over’, said the MLA.
‘After conducting an assessment, we will decide about contesting local bodies polls as well’, he said.
Among the prominent local leaders who have invited AIMIM leadership here is Kalim Siddiqui, general secretary of the Ahmedabad City Congress Committee (ACCC).
He said that besides himself, Akbaruddin Owaisi, party’s MLA from Hyderabad, would be among a couple of party leaders to come first and assess the situation in the state. Asaduddin Owaisi, he said, would visit the state afterwards.
The development has sent Muslim Congress leaders in a tizzy. Daryapur MLA Gayasuddin Sheikh held discussions with Siddiqui for over an hour last night and tried to dissuade him from crossing over to AIMIM.
Sheikh told this reporter that AIMIM contesting polls here would polarise the voters further and would vitiate the state’s politics further.
Siddiqui, when contacted by this reporter, said: ‘I frankly told Gayasuddin Sheikh that I have decided to join AIMIM and there is no turning back now’.
‘Muslim Congress leaders are nervous because their political future is likely to be finished with AIMIM coming here’, asserts Siddiqui.
‘It is because of this reason they are raising the bogey of polarisation of votes’, Siddiqui commented, adding such fears would no longer work in the state.
Siddiqui said that he was going to hold a lecture after August 25 on the theme of “The Changing trend in Media, Bureaucracy and Judiciary”, in the memory of late advocate Mohammed Shahid who was murdered in Mumbai two years ago allegedly for providing legal support to “innocent” Muslim youths booked in Malegaon and other terror incidents.
Siddiqui said that AIMIM leaders including Jaleel and others would be invited to speak in this function and then discussions would be held how to go about mobilising the people in support of AIMIM in the state.