Bengaluru: From banning his rallies in Begaluru to denying the party symbol to his candidates, the Congress led government in Karnataka did everything in its hands to stop Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi's entry into the local politics.
However, the situation in the city - slated to go to polls on Saturday to elect the new body of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), clearly shows that all the efforts by the state government have actually backfired, and there is a huge support building up in each of the 28 wards where the AIMIM has fielded its candidates.
"They barred our party chief Asaduddin Owaisi from holding rallies in the city. They denied us permission to use auto-rickshaws and organise public meetings. They also denied our candidates the party symbol. They did everything to demoralise us. But, people will show them tomorrow how miserably the Congress ruled state failed in its evil design", M Ibrahim, MIM Bengaluru unit chief said while talking to ummid.com.
"In the absence of our national leaders, we tried hard to reach out to people and went for door-to-door campaigning in all the 28 wards. Our party candidates are in a strong position to reply to the apathy of the state government, and also repeat the MIM success run witnessed in Maharashtra", he added.
Voting of votes for the 198-member Bengaluru civic body will take place August 22 from morning 07:00 to 05:00 in the evening. Around 20,000 policemen, including home guards, are expected to maintain law and order on the polling day. The counting of votes will be done on August 25.
In the election, 73, 88,256 voters will be exercising their franchise to select corporators from 197 wards. The total number of wards is 198 but Bharati Ramachandra, a BJP candidate, was declared elected unanimously from Hongasandra ward in Bommanahalli assembly segment.
Ibrahim said people were fed up of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) leaders who used the Muslims, Dalits and people from other backward classes as their 'vote bank'.
"Bengaluru claims to be a world class city. But, the areas dominated by Muslims, Dalits and people from other backward classes lack in everything. There is no proper sanitation, no drinking water facility. Streets are full of potholes and without lights. They did nothing for these poor people. Just used them as vote bank", he said.
When asked what 28 members of the MIM, even if all of them get elected, will do in a house of 198, Ibrahim exuded confidence and showed determination to fight for the right of the poor people.
"Looking at the huge support building up in our favour, we are confident of winning most of the seats. And, our candidate will be role models. They will fight for the rights of the people that were denied to them in the last 65 years", he said.
The MIM has fielded 28 candidates, including 03 non-Muslims, in the wards that are dominated mostly by Muslims, Dalits and other minorities.
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) accuse the MIM of dividing secular votes. The past election results however show that the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) candidates shared the minority votes with each other, paving the way for the victory of the candidates belonging to the BJP or the other parties.
The All India Majlise-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party that hails from the land of Nizam headed by Asaduddin Owaisi is literally going places.
After flourishing and creating a perpetual position in Hyderabad over the years, Owaisi’s party is beginning to make its presence felt in the other parts of India now.
AIMIM has already set foot in the Maratha land by winning two out of the twenty five seats it contested in the Maharashtra’s assembly polls in 2014 and had given some serious competition to some of the established parties there.
This was soon followed by the party’s remarkable victory in the Aurangabad Municipal elections, where AIMIM emerged as the runner up securing half the seats.
In an interview to a news channel, Owaisi, the 46-year-old London educated lawyer, spoke about the party’s expansion plan and said "Expansion plans of any political party are very natural. Every political party would want to expand. In a democracy that is not something very surprising,"
On the other hand the party is constantly scrutunised for being a Muslim brand wagon on the political front. The party is accused of playing communal politics by flattering Muslims for votes and brain washing them against other parties with strong communal opinions.
On allegations of dividing the minority votes of other political parties by the Congress, the AIMIM chief argued that Congress is just being arrogant.
Lashing out at the Congress party during an interview, he said "It is the Muslims who supported them (Congress) earlier. We lost our masjid, we lost our businesses and homes in communal riots... What are they talking about?
"Only if we fight under their umbrella can we fight the RSS and the BJP. What have they done to stop the RSS and the BJP? How did Modi get 280 seats in 2014? They have lost every election since 2014", he said.
Owaisi also rubbished claims of AIMIM being a Muslim-only party.
“‘Mine is not a Muslim party. That is completely wrong and a misinformation campaign. I have fielded non-Muslim candidates everywhere, including Dalits and OBCs. Three of the party's mayors in Hyderabad were Hindu", he said.
The Congress however is not convinced. Karnataka Youth Congress president and a prominent leader of the Muslims Rizwan Arshad while stating that the AIMIM won’t make any difference to Congress votes, said “Owaisi wants to help the BJP. There has been an understanding between the BJP and Owaisi. We have explained this to our people. He has now been exposed. His party will not win even a single ward in Bengaluru”.
Interestingly, the BJP itself denies having any deal with the MIM. State BJP spokesperson S Prakash while dismissing such allegations as untrue, said, “Both Owaisi and Congress are the political rivals of the BJP. The BJP and MIM are ideologically diagonally opposite entities. We represent exactly opposite ideologies. AIMIM is an anti-national party. We will never deal with such people".