Bengaluru: In a major relief to secular parties in Karnataka, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Asaduddin Owaisi has decided not to contest the state assembly elections scheduled to be held on May 12.
Reports citing unnamed AIMIM sources said that the party has taken the decision after a series of consultation meeting wherein it was realized that contesting election will only divide the secular votes in Karnataka.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had said in the last week of March that it would contest the Karnataka assembly elections alone and without any alliance with other parties.
"The AIMIM is not looking at electoral tie-up in Karnataka and will contest the state elections alone”, the party sources said adding that the number of seats it will contest is yet to be finalized.
Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) was earlier trying to form an alliance with Deve Gawda led Janata Dal (S) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However, the party did not get any response from either of the two, sources said.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had contested the Bengaluru civic elections held in August 2015, but none of its candidates could win the election. The Hyderabad based party AIMIM had earlier also contested state elections in Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. However, except winning 02 seats in Maharashtra, it could not win any seat in the other two states.
The AIMIM had first time contested election outside Hyderabad in 2012 Nanded civic elections and won 11 seats. However, it faced humiliating defeat in the 2017 Nanded civic polls when all its candidates lost the polls.
According to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India the single phase election in Karnataka will be held on May 12 and result will be declared on May 15, 2018 whereas the notification for the will be released on April 17. The last date to file nomination is April 24, scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on April 25 and last date to withdraw nomination will be April 27.
Karnataka is currently being ruled by the Congress which has a total of 113 MLAs in the house of 224. The BJP has 44 Members whereas Janata Dal (S) had 40 MLAs. The 2013 Karnataka elections were held on May 05. The current tenure of Karnataka assembly will end on May 28, 2018. As per rules the assembly election will have to be held and new house constituted before May 29.
According to the 2011 Census report, 84% of the population in Karnataka are Hindu, 12.9% are Muslim, 1.9% are Christian, 0.7% are Jains, 0.2% are Buddhist, some 0.1% are Sikhs, and remaining belong to other religions. Karnataka is also the location of some of tribes like, Nayaka, Soliga, and Yerava.
Besides BJP, Congress, Janata Dal (S) and other parties who claim to be secular, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Dr. Nowhera Shaikh-led All India Mahila Empowerment Party (MEP) – the two parties which mainly bank on Muslim support, are also contesting the state elections.
While SDPI has not yet declared how many seats it will contest, All India Mahila Empowerment Party (MEP) has already said it will field candidates on all 224 assembly constituencies. The All India Mahila Empowerment Party (MEP) is contesting election for the first time. It is widely believed that Dr. Nowhera Shaikh is contesting the election on the direction of BJP and RSS leaders. The party however denies the allegations.
Owaisi’s decision to not contest the state election came two days after pre-poll surveys predicted a close contest between the ruling Congress and the Bhariya Janata Party (BJP). The survey conducted by India Today group said Congress will be able to win a maximum of 101 seats – 12 short of the halfway mark needed to form the government. The survey also gave barely 4-7 seats to other parties.
The move also came at a time when all opposition parties are trying to form a national alliance of all parties to fight the BJP led NDA. AIMIM has earlier always sided with the Congress and supported its governments in Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi. Recently, the AIMIM contested the Malegaon civic elections in Malegaon against the Congress. However, it extended its support to the Congress after the polls. The AIMIM did the same also in Nanded.
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