Interview: AIMIM fielding candidates outside Hyderabad not ruled out, says Owaisi

Owaisi spoke about the current political situation in Telangana, especially concerning Muslims and the prospect of the AIMIM contesting seats in areas where it can influence the election

By S. Harpal Singh  Published on  30 May 2023 4:29 AM GMT
AIMIMs Owaisi not ruled out on fielding candidates outside Hyderabad.

Adilabad: Which party would the Muslims in Telangana side with in the coming Assembly elections?

This question has surfaced in the wake of the results of elections to the Karnataka Assembly which indicated that the Muslim electors in that State have voted for the Congress party becoming one of the key factors in the defeat of the BJP.

The question has become important in the wake of the perceived strain in the political relationship between the All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which stands for the aspirations of the minority community, and the ruling BRS. "Politics is dynamic and situations keep changing," is what the AIMIM president, Asaduddin Owaisi said about the current status of the equation in question.

Owaisi, who is a Member of Parliament from Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, was in Adilabad town on May 28 and addressed a well-attended ‘jalsa halat-e-hazra’ or public meeting on the current situation, the first in a series of such events to be organized by his party across the State in the coming months.

He spoke with this correspondent about the current political situation in Telangana, especially concerning Muslims and the prospect of the AIMIM contesting seats in areas where it can influence the election. The MP, however, was not specific about the number of constituencies his party would contest or all constituencies where the AIMIM has a significant presence.


Q: Is the political influence of your party restricted to Hyderabad only as is commonly perceived?

A: No. Our area of influence spreads beyond Hyderabad. In many Assembly constituencies, the AIMIM is a force to reckon with.

Q: Are you planning to contest in the coming elections from constituencies outside Hyderabad?

A: We have not decided on that yet but the chances of AIMIM fielding its candidates from constituencies outside Hyderabad are not ruled out. We are holding meetings with our units at the district level to ascertain their opinion before we decide on that. There are several constituencies where we have a sizable electorate. Take for instance Adilabad Assembly constituency. I am told that this constituency has 62,000 Muslim voters though the claim has to be verified.

Q: What do you think is the reason for the overwhelming support from the Muslim electorate that Congress received in the Karnataka election? Will Congress get such support from the Muslims in Telangana too?

A: The main aim of Muslim voters is to defeat the BJP and so they voted for Congress in Karnataka. In the absence of any political bargaining power or political voice to represent it, the minority community sided with that party. Muslims were left with no choice in an atmosphere that is ruled by communal hatred. Congress, however, is no better and we in Telangana see through their strategy. The party is happier if Muslims are vilified so that it can garner the community’s vote. If the party had real concern about the poor Muslims it would have implemented enhanced reservations for Muslims in Rajasthan where it rules.

Q: What if Congress promises to give enhanced reservations to Muslims if it is voted to power in Telangana in this instance and the Centre in 2024? Whether such a move will increase its prospect of bagging Muslim votes?

A: I do not think so. The youth in the community are feeling the need for a political voice of their own. This was evident from the results of recent local body elections in UP where our party performed creditably. Moreover, enhanced reservation means crossing the 50 percent limit of it. It needs amendment to the relevant law in Parliament and already a resolution of the Telangana Assembly to this effect is pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Q: Will the BJP be able to strike a cordial note with Pasmanda Muslims in Telangana in the ensuing elections?

BJP talks of uplifting the Pasmanda or the socially and educationally backward segments within the Muslims but in practice removes reservations meant for them. The victims of mob lynching so far have been utterly poor Pasmanda Muslims, some of whose families I have visited personally. The party will not cut much ice with those sections.

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