Monday December 10, 2018
Home Politics Owaisi’...

Owaisi’s entry may change UP’s political landscape

0
//
Republish
Reprint

Asaduddin_Owaisi_(2006)Lucknow:  The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) of Asaduddin Owaisi plans to contest the coming three-tier panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, giving the jitters to the ruling Samajwadi Party.

Both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party have announced they will contest the elections on party symbol at some places and support strong candidates at others.

Highly placed sources in the Hyderabad-based AIMIM told IANS that its president Owaisi, the party’s only Lok Sabha member, has given the green signal to the idea of fighting the panchayat battle. The party, known for its radical views, is working on the selection of candidates and finalizing the election strategy.

The panchayat polls will test the waters for the future in the electorally crucial Uttar Pradesh where the AIMIM feels it will have a key role to play in the 2017 assembly elections.

Owaisi has for long been itching to get his party’s footprint in Uttar Pradesh but the Samajwadi Party government thrice denied him permission to hold rallies in the state. The Samajwadi Party clearly fears that Owaisi would poach into its otherwise reliable Muslim support base. Muslims and Yadavs played a major role in catapulting the Samajwadi Party to power in 2012.

Owaisi, however, slipped into Uttar Pradesh’s Iftar gatherings in Meerut and Agra. Both cities have sizable Muslim populations.
Owaisi, often seen as a firebrand, mingled with the Who’s Who among Muslims and gave special time to Muslim youth.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is home to some 36 million Muslims. Their en bloc support to any single party creates a perception of winnability.

AIMIM state unit leader Mohd Tauheed Ahmed Siddiqui says the party will contest the Panchayat polls but “strategically and selectively”.

The winning potential of the candidates will be a key factor. The overall performance is expected to cast a shadow on the 2017 assembly polls.

The party, informed sources say, is focussing on western Uttar Pradesh – the flashpoint between Hindus and Muslims in 2013 when 67 people were killed in riots in the Muzaffarnagar region. Thousands became homeless.

Owaisi’s fiery speeches, his opposition to the hanging of Mumbai serial bombings accused Yakub Memon and his rant against Hindutva forces have endeared him to many Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, specially the youth.

The Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are haunted by the spectre of Owaisi eating into their vote bank.

“We are not sure of the exact impact but, yes, the AIMIM’s entry into UP is a worrying prospect,” says a senior Congress functionary.

Some feel that the AIMIM may meet a premature end like the Apna Dal, which till not long ago was a party to watch out for until it bit the dust in the 2012 battle.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is, however, happy over the development. Its leaders feel that Owaisi will further polarize the electorate on religious lines, in the process consolidating Hindus behind the BJP.

BJP strategists are also confident that Owaisi’s entry will further weaken the electoral prospects of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress.

Established in 1928 to keep the then Hyderabad State independent, the MIM was banned after the state’s merger with the Indian Union in 1948.

Owaisi’s grandfather, Moulana Abdul Wahid Owaisi, revived it in 1958 to champion the cause of Indian Muslims.

It has seven members in the 120-seat Telangana assembly. Two of its candidates were also elected to the Maharashtra assembly last year, giving it a major boost. It has since decided to expand nationally.

Often branded communal by critics, the MIM claims to represent the interests of not just Muslims but all socially and economically backward classes. It says it is the only party in India to develop a chain of educational institutions and state-of-the-art hospitals.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Democrats in Congress Ready To Take Control

This is about us lifting up the voices, the stories, the struggles, the innovation and the ideas of the people that we represent.

0
Democratic
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, speaks at a small rally outside an orientation meeting for incoming members of Congress at Harvard University. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley, right, and Rep.-elect Lori Trahan, second from right, look on in Cambridge, Mass. VOA

Incoming members of the Democratic Party’s new U.S. House majority say they’re ready to turn the energy of their campaigns into real power on Capitol Hill.

Rep.-elects Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and a handful of other liberal-leaning incoming Democrats used an orientation event for freshman lawmakers Tuesday sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics to stake out some of their top issues – from gun violence to health care to climate change.

They say they’re ready to leverage their victories at the ballot box into victories in Congress — an institution that prizes seniority.

Pressley said power is about more than just how many terms a lawmaker has served.

“It’s a confluence of things. It’s about the committees that we’ll be appointed to. It’s about the values- and issues-based caucuses that we’ll serve on. And it’s about us simply leveraging the platform that we have available to us as well as our social media networks,” Pressley said.

democrats, USA, election, twitter, democratics
Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar reacts after appearing at her midterm election night party in Minneapolis, Minnesota. VOA

Pressley won election to the House by beating a fellow Democrat – longtime U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano – in a September primary.

Ocasio-Cortez said like-minded incoming Democratic members of the House have the numbers needed to press their case for change.

“We have a magic number in the House … and it’s 218,” she said. “Two hundred and eighteen is the magic number to get things done and how many member Democratic freshmen do we have? Sixty Three. Sixty-three of that 218 is brand new and 35 of that 63 have rejected corporate PAC money, 35 of that 63 is not funded by opioid companies, not funded by the NRA, not funded by for-profit health care, not funded by fossil fuels. Thirty-five are independent of the interests of corporate influence.”

Like Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez also won election by defeating another veteran Democratic incumbent – Joe Crowley – in New York’s June primary.

Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats have to fight back against an opposition she said “is predicated on us being turned against each other, of us accepting the idea of zero-sum thinking that one community’s gain must be another community’s loss.”

Democratic
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat-New York, talks during a news conference with members of the Progressive Caucus in Washington. VOA

“We know that all of our issues are tied and are the same,” she added. “There is no health care justice without gun violence reform.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley have both pledged to support Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker after Democrats take control of the House in January.

Other new and incoming Democratic House members who spoke at Tuesday’s event include Lori Trahan of Massachusetts, Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania and Andy Levin of Michigan.

Pressley said the timing of Tuesday’s press conference wasn’t meant as a rejection of the Harvard orientation event.

Also Read: Political Ads Under Scrutiny By Google Before The EU Elections

On its website the school says the sessions are designed to help incoming House members “forge bipartisan relationships and learn practical skills of lawmaking just one month prior to taking the oath of office.” Since 1972, the program has hosted nearly 700 current and new member of Congress.

“There is nothing adversarial,” Pressley said. “This is about us lifting up the voices, the stories, the struggles, the innovation and the ideas of the people that we represent. So I think it’s a good thing.” (VOA)