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A veteran of many battles

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The end: Followers of MIM president Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi throng his residence on Monday.
The end: Followers of MIM president Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi throng his residence on Monday.

Special Correspondent

To be laid to rest with full State honours

HYDERABAD: A veteran of several elections, Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) leader Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi made his debut in politics by capturing the Mallepally seat in the municipal corporation in 1960 by defeating M. M. Hashim of Congress. In 1962, he began his innings in the legislature by capturing the Patharghatti seat. But that year, he contested as an Independent and defeated Congress candidate Masooma Begum, by a huge margin.

When elections were held after formation of the Charminar constituency in 1967, Mr. Owaisi trounced the Jan Sangh candidate, C.L. Megh Raj. However, in 1972, he shifted to Yakutpura. In the next election held in 1978, he again contested from Charminar and won against the Janata Party candidate, Abdul Husain. And for the next 22 years, he remained an MLA while his party’s tally rose to four in the Assembly.

Mr. Owaisi was successful in safeguarding his citadel even when the Telugu Desam stormed to power in 1983. In 1984, Mr. Owaisi entered Parliament and represented Hyderabad till 2004. Due to poor health, he did not contest the election but his elder son, Asaduddin Owaisi, was successful in retaining the seat.

Mr. Owaisi termed as ‘unjust’ the allegation that the Majlis was a communal party and took pains to name the Hindu candidates fielded by his party.

While most parties have suffered erosion in their vote bank, the Majlis, by and large has been able to retain its support base under the leadership of Mr. Owaisi. The only serious challenge the party faced in its 50-year existence was from the MBT.

A void

The Majlis lost ground when Amanullah Khan, one of its longest serving members, parted ways and launched the Majlis Bachao Tehreek in 1993. Mr. Khan succeeded in challenging the Majlis in its own citadel. Governor, N.D. Tiwari expressed shock over the demise of MIM founder Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi on Monday evening. A Raj Bhavan release said his death had left behind a void that would be difficult to fill.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy announced that he would be laid to rest with full State honours. A release from the CMO said Dr. Reddy, currently in New Delhi, was rushing back to the State capital, in time for the funeral.

He described Owaisi as the ‘dearest leader of the Muslim community in Hyderabad and undisputed leader of the MIM’ and said his demise was a big loss for the State and Hyderabad, in particular.

The release added that AICC general secretary in charge of AP Affairs, Veerappa Moily and PCC president D. Srinivas were also coming to Hyderabad for the funeral.

In another release, TDP president N. Chanrababu Naidu termed as ‘phenomenal’ the efforts undertaken by Owaisi for the uplift of minorities.


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