Muslim party to go it alone in crucial Hyderabad elections

Hyderabad - The long-pending polls to the urban conglomerate have assumed significance because of the changing political dynamics in Telangana in the wake of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

By P S Jayaram

Published: Wed 22 Jul 2015, 3:34 PM

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a force to reckon with in the capital, particularly in the Old City, has decided to go it alone in the crucial elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), scheduled to be held later this year.
The long-pending polls to the urban conglomerate have assumed significance because of the changing political dynamics in Telangana in the wake of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad becoming the common capital for Telangana and residuary AP for a period of 10 years. In the past, the MIM has been able to call the shots in several pockets of the city, and it expects to retain its hold in the GHMC elections too.
The MIM, whose president Asaduddin Owaisi represents Hyderabad in the Lok Sabha, has seven MLAs in the Telangana Assembly, all of them from the old city which has been the party's stronghold for over three decades now.
"Those who believe in Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's ideology will support MIM as the so-called secular parties are antagonists of Dalits, Muslims and backward classes (BCs)," Owaisi, a three-time MP, said, adding that the party would field a large number of Dalits and BC candidates for the coming elections.
MIM sources told Khaleej Times that the party had never gone in for pre-poll alliances or understanding with others and had always preferred to contest on its own. "It is another thing that we come to an understanding with other parties after the polls. It is also a fact that no single party can come to power given the political realities, and therefore there will be a need to strike an alliance with other parties post-polls," the source pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which is in power in the newly created Telangana state, is keen on expanding its footprint in the city which has been its weak area so far. The TRS draws its strength mainly from other Telangana districts while its influence in the city has been marginal all along. However, the ruling party is determined to expand its base in the city by winning majority of the seats in the municipal corporation.
Though there were expectations in political circles about a possible alliance between MIM and TRS for the GHMC elections, the party has made it clear that it would chart its own course and would seek support from Backward Classes and Dalits. So far, it has been extending outside support to the TRS in the State, after it severed links with long-time ally Congress couple of years ago.
The MIM and Congress had joined hands to share power after bagging 43 and 52 seats respectively in the 150-member GHMC in the last elections held to the urban body in November 2009. The term of the previous elected body lapsed in the first week of December 2014 and the government has vested management of GHMC affairs with Commissioner Somesh Kumar, designating him as Special Officer. After delimitation process, to be carried out on the basis of 2011 census, the number of wards is expected to go up to 172 from 150.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and BJP are likely to extend their alliance to the GHMC elections while the other key players the Congress, the TRS and the MIM will go it alone this time.

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