MIM makes grand debut in Maharashtra, wins 2 seats

MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi drew massive crowds during electioneering in Maharashtra.

MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi drew massive crowds during electioneering in Maharashtra.

The Hyderabad-based Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) made a spectacular entry into Maharashtra by winning two assembly seats.

MIM candidates, Imtiaz Jaleel (Aurangabad Central) and Waris Yusuf Pathan (Byculla), won with handsome margins. They trounced established candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.

The party, headed by the suave and articulate Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, led a high-decibel campaign in 24 assembly seats against the real and perceived injustices against the Muslims of Maharashtra. That the party’s message struck an instant chord with the community was evident during electioneering when an overwhelming number of people turned out at the party’s rallies.

In many seats that it contested, MIM came at No. 2, indicating a groundswell of support. On three seats, the party lost by a very narrow margin. While the party was expected to do well in Aurangabad, its victory in Byculla has surprised political pundits. MIM’s Waris Pathan defeated BJP bigwig Madhu (Dada) Chavan and Akhil Bharatiya Sena’s Geeta Gawli.

The party fielded a number of candidates from the Dalit community, but none of them won. However, the Dalit-Muslim pact consolidated two politically marginalized sections of society.

In Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi promised to expand the party’s structure in other parts of Maharashtra, especially Nagpur. He said the party will put up candidates in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation elections.

“This is just the beginning,” he told reporters at Darus Salam, the party headquarters. “We are in Maharashtra for a long haul.”

MIM backers were jubilant on Sunday. “These two seats are our strength, and we will ensure that the voice of Muslims is heard in the assembly,” wrote a party supporter on Twitter.


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