Thursday, October 01, 2015

Commentary - Interview of Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM

AIMIM (All India Majlis – e – Ittehadul Muslimeen) is viewed as extreme right winger Muslim party, an equivalent of Bajrang Dal sort of. MIM - its pre-independence version - was openly supporting Razakars, the villains of the first order.

But AIMIM is not just the equivalent of Bajrang Dal or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). It is much older – started in 1927. VHP was started in 1964 and Bajrang Dal in 1984. Furthermore, AIMIM has held a Lok Sabha seat of Hyderabad since 1984 (apart from winning upto 7 seats in Andhra/Telangana Assembly). Hyderabad became ‘cyberabad’ during this phase, but AIMIM held on.

In the last couple of years, it has started spreading outside Hyderabad.

In the Maharashtra assembly elections in 2014, it surprised everyone by winning two seats and being runner up in two more. The seats won were from Mumbai and Aurangabad. The two cities are not exactly adjacent, they are over 350 km away. Similarly, the cities where it was runner up, Parbhani is some 200 km from Aurangabad and 240 km from Solapur, the other place where it was the second. The reason for this kilometre maths is, AIMIM has penetrated in a reasonably diverse area.

To put this performance in perspective, Raj Thakare’s MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) managed to win one seat and be runner up in five. Winner from Pune rural, runner up in four of Mumbai and one of Nasik constituencies; all from an area of a radius of about 100 km.

Now, AIMIM is entering Bihar elections, targeting only 24 constituencies from the Seemanchal region. And that has set the cat among the pigeons.

BJP leader and Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was candid enough to welcome this.

What has Asaduddin Owaisi got for the people of Bihar? This interview gives some very important insights. He deftly quotes NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization) data, claiming his share in the ‘development’ centric political space. He blames Modi, and comments on the recent name-changing brouhaha in Delhi (Aurangzeb Road becoming APL Abdul Kalam Road) in a manner that is too sober for BJP’s liking. He pushes for Dalit and Muslim unity, which, if it comes into reality, may hit like a cyclone to all major players.

In short, love him, like him, hate him, accept him, welcome him or ignore him. This interview gives you a peep inside his mind, a peep that you can miss at your own peril.

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