With elections to local bodies in Gujarat just a month away, the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM on Saturday announced its foray into the state politics with an aim to provide an "effective alternative" to the ruling BJP and opposition Congress. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen's (AIMIM) will contest the upcoming Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections in at least 15 wards, and in alliance with the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) in Bharuch on a seat-sharing basis, the party leaders said.
Asaduddin Owaisi is likely to address rallies in Ahmedabad and Bharuch ahead of polling, they said. On Saturday, Gujarat unit president Sabir Kabuliwala and state general secretary Hamid Bhatti launched the party's membership drive in the presence of a group of supporters.
They said the AIMIM will prove to be an "effective alternative to the ruling BJP and opposition Congress in Gujarat". The Owaisi-led party recently announced to contest the local body polls in alliance with the BTP, which had snapped its ties with the Congress over differences in Rajasthan district panchayat polls.
"The incumbent BJP government has seriously neglected the development of Muslims, dalits, tribals, poor and backward areas, due to which a large number of people still remains deprived of basic amenities," said Kabuliwala, a former MLA of Congress. He alleged that the Congress had failed to uplift the weaker sections of the society when it was in power in power.
"The Congress has also failed to raise issues of the common people despite being in opposition," Kabuliwala alleged. Given the current situation, the people of Gujarat need a strong leadership and an alternative to ensure the welfare of all classes without any discrimination, he said.
"I am confident that under Asaduddin Owaisi's leadership, we will perform well in Gujarat," Kabuliwala added. AIMIM secretary general Hamidbhai Bhatti said the party has launched a membership drive and will announce the party structure in the state after the local elections.
"At present, our focus is on the upcoming elections in Ahmedabad and Bharuch. Personal interviews have been arranged with aspirants who want to contest on behalf of our party after seeing their bio data. We will go to the people with a commitment to resolving local issues," he said. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had also said that it will contest on all the seats in the elections to local bodies in Gujarat, "to provide an alternative to both the BJP and Congress".
Elections to six municipal corporations in Gujarat will take place on February 21 and to 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats on February 28, state election commission announced earlier in the day. Counting of votes for the six municipal corporations will take place on February 23, and for the 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats on March 2.
The six municipal corporations to go to polls are Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar..