After emerging as a force to reckon with in the Bihar assembly elections, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has set its sights on Tamil Nadu and is all set to contest in the assembly elections to be held next year.
According to a source close to Owaisi, the AIMIM is likely to contest from not less than 25 seats in the assembly elections which are to be held in April or May 2021. The party, they said, may also join hands with actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s outfit Makkal Needhi Maiam.
“Owaisi is holding a discussion today (Monday) with his party office-bearers of Tamil Nadu on the assembly elections. The discussions are happening in Hyderabad,” said the source, adding that the party is likely to have conferences in Trichy and Chennai in January to finalise the electoral plan.
Haasan, meanwhile, on Monday also announced that he will "definitely contest the upcoming elections". "I will announce later about the constituency from which I will be contesting," the MNM chief told reporters.
Owaisi and Haasan have previously found themselves on the same page, when last year the AIMIM chief had backed the latter’s statement that Nathuram Godse, who shot dead the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, should indeed be called a terrorist.
The AIMIM’s fortunes have been on an upswing lately, as the party performed remarkably well in the Bihar assembly elections, winning five crucial Muslim-dominated constituencies – Baisi, Amour, Kochadhaman, Bahadurganj and Jokihat. It had contested in 20 seats. It also managed to secure 44 seats in the Hyderabad civic polls, giving a tough fight to the BJP for the second place.
Owaisi has managed to carve out a Muslim constituency, and the party hopes to reap similar electoral success in Tamil Nadu, where Muslims form 5.86 per cent of the population, according to the 2011 Census.
While there already are several minor Muslim parties in the state, they have been divided between the two Dravidian alliances in the past elections.
“Owaisi is planning to unite all Muslim parties and contest the elections. The AIMIM may have alliance with Makkal Needhi Maiam (Kamal’s party), Naam Tamilar and other smaller parties,” said a source aware of the discussions.
Tamil Nadu has Indian Union Muslim League, Indian National League, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi, All India Muslim League, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath and other smaller parties in support of Muslims.
Districts like Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur, Krishnagiri, Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai, Trichy, Madurai and Tirunelveli have a substantial number of Muslims in their population.
Vakeel Ahmed, the president of AIMIM’s Tamil Nadu unit, had last month told a news website that the party was carrying out a survey in the state ahead of the elections to identify seats.
Ahmed had said that he had spoken to Duraimurugan, the general secretary of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), about a possible alliance but haven’t heard back from him. He had ruled out an alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) because it is in a coalition with the BJP.