Political parties in Gujarat are making their best pitches before the assembly elections on December 1, as campaigning for the first phase of polling comes to an end. Among them, Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting in the state for the first time and the party’s president, Asaduddin Owaisi, has been campaigning over the past 25 days.
Talking about the response so far, AIMIM’s national spokesperson Waris Pathan told News18: “We are contesting the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha elections for the first time. We are contesting from only 13 seats. Earlier, we contested the civic body elections a year ago, where 23 of our corporators got elected. We have a presence here.”
“If you look at the public meetings our chief Asaduddin Owaisi is addressing in Gujarat, you will see that the crowds are larger than those for the other parties. We do not pay anyone to come and listen to us. We have received a tremendous response from people. Only time will say if it will convert into votes,” he added.
The former Byculla MLA said the main aim of the party was to empower people. “We want political empowerment of Muslims, Dalits, adivasis. From 1984 to date, there has not been a single Muslim MP from Gujarat. Neither the Congress nor the BJP did anything for the welfare of the people. If you look at Muslim and Dalit localities, you can see that there is no development. We are a national party that wants to work for the upliftment of these communities and strengthen democracy. We are hopeful that people will shower us with love as they did during the corporation elections.”
Pathan has been campaigning with Owaisi for around 25 days now. They have been to Surat, Ahmedabad, Godhra and Bhuj, and will be there till December 3. Corporators from Telangana and various other teams are making the campaigns possible in Gujarat.
On accusations that the AIMIM is there to cut into Congress votes, Pathan said: “People had been voting for the Congress all these years because there was no alternative. The party has been silent on issues like hijab, madrassa, NRC, Bilkis Bano and others. Only Owaisi has been raising a voice for the voiceless. That’s what we are contesting for.”
“The Congress shows love for Muslims just before elections. Where were they when Muslim boys were lynched by police in Khera? We are contesting on only 13 out of 182 seats. They are free to go and defeat the BJP,” he said, reacting to a Congress leader’s statement that Owaisi polarised people.
The politician, who is also an advocate, said the public in Gujarat will give Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP a befitting reply. The Delhi-based party is trying to make inroads into the BJP-ruled state with a fierce campaign.
“We call him ‘chhota recharge’. We have seen the real face of Kejriwal. He wanted deities on currency notes. His government is involved in corruption. The public will give him a fitting reply,” Pathan added.
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