J.S. Ifthekhar

GA campaign fails to erode party’s base

Impressive performance shows MIM is no pushover

MIM emerges king-maker with its tacit support to Congress

HYDERABAD: Nothing succeeds like success. The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has proved this yet again. Its impressive performance at the hustings showed that it is no pushover.

The no-holds-barred campaign by the four-party Mahakutami against the Majlis failed to cut ice with the electorate. In fact, it helped the party consolidate its vote bank.

The spirited campaign by Siasat Editor, Zahid Ali Khan, pepped up the electioneering. But it didn’t erode the Majlis base.

His poll plank that ‘people want a change’ also proved wrong.

The confusion and dilemma that prevailed among the Muslims about whom to vote seemed to have disappeared on the polling day and the community rallied solidly behind the Majlis.

The party has not just retained the Hyderabad Parliament seat and improved its tally from five to seven in the State legislature, it has emerged as a king-maker by extending tacit support to the Congress.

It has helped transfer the Muslim votes en bloc to the Congress in several pockets of Telangana and coastal Andhra. Majlis president, Asaduddin Owaisi, himself campaigned in several Muslim-populated towns of the State in favour of Congress. His argument that a vote to Telugu Desam would lead to formation of BJP government at the Centre seemed to click with the community.

“We have emerged as the third force in the State. By their flip-flops and opportunistic alliances other parties have lost credibility. We will play a constructive role in the Assembly,” says Mr. Asaduddin.

He sees a bigger role for the Majlis in the days to come. He wants to broaden the base of the party with inclusion of BCs and Dalits.

Having bagged seven Assembly seats, the party would have greater say in the city affairs.

Housing and employment are the two important issues it would like to address. In Parliament, Mr. Asaduddin wants to ensure implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations.

Would he like an image makeover for the Majlis? “No, we are happy with the image we have.” In the next breath, he remarks, “How can I help if the media has a dogmatic image of Majlis? I don’t want to have a page three image,” he quips.

Mr. Asaduddin sounds bitter about the negative campaign by a section of the press, particularly the Urdu newspapers. The media almost ‘wrote off’ Majlis. “Going by media reports, we shouldn’t have won. But the electorate proved everyone wrong,” he says.

Younger hands

The first-time voters, he says, plumped for the party as it is now in younger hands. So are the educated sections which realised that the community’s development couldn’t be brought about by the ‘so-called’ secular parties.