The AIMIM on Tuesday announced the candidature of former journalist and sitting MLA Imtiaz Jaleel as its lone Lok Sabha candidate from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
The party has seen a major difference of opinion on whether its should contest the Aurangabad seat, which has a substantial Muslim population. The AIMIM in Maharashtra has tied up with Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar to float the Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi in an attempt to consolidate Dalit and Muslim votes. There had been a tussle between sitting Aurangabad MLA Imtiaz Jaleel and Ambedkar on who should contest from the seat. Ambedkar, who had announced a candidate for Aurangabad, had subsequently withdrawn its claim on the seat last week.
“We had a three-hour discussion with all party members. We have decided to nominate Imtiaz Jaleel as our candidate from the seat,” Owaisi said. Jaleel will face off against sitting Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire and Congress’ Subhash Zambad. The Aurangabad seat has had a Shiv Sena MP for the last four terms and the party was hoping to cash in on the anti-incumbency against MP Chandrakant Khaire.
Aurangabad had last seen a Muslim MP in 1980 when Qazi Saleem of the Congress had won the seat. Over the past five years, the AIMIM, through Jaleel, has found support base in the district. “Over the last two decades, Aurangabad has been struck in a quagmire of vitriolic communal politics that has remained confined to Hindu-Muslim issues or agitations to change Aurangabad’s name. Nothing has been done to ensure the development of this city. My aim is to ensure that we rise above petty politics and take everyone together to ensure harmony and development in Aurangabad,” Jaleel said.
Jaleel had been a television journalist for over two decades before taking the electoral plunge in 2014, when he won the Aurangabad Central seat by over 20,000 votes. In his five-year stint, Jaleel has been the face of the party in the state. He was instrumental in ensuring that the AIMIM emerged as the main Opposition party in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.