Hyderabad: The plans of Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen to further expand its base in neighbouring Maharashtra has suffered a major setback as the party was wiped out in Nanded Waghala Municipal Corporation elections.
While earlier the MIM had 11 members in the 81 member corporation, this time the Hyderabad based party drew a blank despite entering into an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party.
As the Congress party swept the polls winning 71 of the 81 seats and BJP could manage to bag only 5 seats the result was being hailed as a victory for secular forces.
The reports of Congress victory in Nanded brought cheer to Congress leaders in Hyderabad who were smarting after several reversals at the hands of the MIM.
Though Nanded in Marathwada region was a traditional Congresshold, where former Chief Minister Ashok Chanavan enjoys tremendous popularity, Congress was apprehensive that the MIM -BSP alliance may divide the votes and help the BJP.
However, not only did the Congress party retain its hold, but increased its strength from 41 in 2012 to 71 this time. BJP which had won a mere two seats last time could win only five seats. The Shiv Sena which had 13 seats earlier could manage only 1 now.
It was obvious that Nanded with considerable Muslim population preferred a secular force in this election.
What makes the blow worse for the MIM was fact that its entire leadership including the party president Asaduddin Owaisi and MiM floor leader in Telangana assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi along with party MLAs had extensively campaigned in Nanded.
This setback came just three years after the MIM had opened its account by winning two seats in Maharashtra assembly and emerging as the main opposition in the Aurangabad municipal corporation.
Senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in Telangana legislative council Mohammad Ali Shabbir said that it was a great victory of secularism over communalism. Shabbir who had campaigned in Nanded congratulated Ashok Chavan for the emphatic victory. In a press statement he said the people of Nanded had rejected the communal forces. “They preferred development over communalism”, he added.
Stating that the people had rejected the anti people policies of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, he exuded confidence that the Congress will return to power in the country in 2019.
The MIM had contested 32 seats and its partner BSP had fought on 22 seats. Both of them drew a blank.