Nanded civic poll results: Internal strife proves costly for AIMIM, party stares at existential crisis in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Once a citadel, and now a relic of past glory. The fall of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen at the recently concluded Nanded civic polls has been equally dramatic as was its rise five years back. The party that made an impressive debut with 11 corporators in the Nanded civic polls in 2012 failed to even open its account this time.

File image of AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi. CNN-News18

File image of AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi. CNN-News18

Apart from the victories at the Nanded Waghla Municipal Corporation (NWMC) poll, the Hyderabad-based party had also put up a good show in the elections for civic bodies in 2012 in the Marathwada region comprising the districts of Latur, Parbhani and Aurangabad. AIMIM had performed well in the Malegaon civic polls last time as well. The party repeated the same performance during the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election.

However, the NWMC results, which came out on Thursday re-established the Congress supremacy once again. Out of the 81 corporator seats, the party won 73, BJP 6, Shiv Sena 1 and Independent 1. Along with AIMIM, Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party also failed to win a single seat.

Prior to the civic polls in Nanded this year which has over 45 percent of Dalit-Muslim voters, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi was in the city for two days and even embarked upon a door-to-door campaign but it had little impact on the voters as the results show. The party had even entered into a pre-poll pact with the Bahujan Samaj Party. While AIMIM had fielded 33 candidates, BSP contested in 22 wards but none of the parties managed to secure a single win.

"The kite of AIMIM did not even fly and its thread was cut," said Maharashtra Congress president and former chief minister Ashok Chavan. Home turf of the Chavan family, the Nanded civic body has always been a Congress stronghold since inception right from its existence two decades ago.

"The results of Nanded municipal elections show that the people of the constituency reject communalism and have full support and faith in Congress. The voters also rejected acche din slogans given by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the BJP," Chavan said.

After winning two Assembly seats in Aurangabad in Marathwada and Byculla in South Mumbai in 2014, AIMIM had started to strengthen its political base in Maharashtra.

"The defeat of AIMIM candidates prove that the people of Maharashtra are not satisfied with the performance of the party. Like Nanded, people are fed up with AIMIM's communal campaigns at Malegaon, Bhiwandi, Latur and Parbhani corporations," the state Congress president said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also congratulated the Maharashtra state unit on the victory.

In the 2012 election to the NWMC, Congress had won 41 seats, Shiv Sena 14, AIMIM 11 and NCP 10 while independents won three and BJP two.

"Minorities and Dalits are traditionally Congress voters. This time Congress in its campaign said that if anyone votes for AIMIM that means they support the BJP. AIMIM is B-team of BJP. After this realisation by the voters, they voted for the Congress," said party MLA DP Sawant, who is also a close aide of Chavan.

"This time all the castes stood by Congress. They have more faith on Chavan than Fadnavis," he said.

Talking to Firstpost AIMIM Aurangabad MLA Imtiyaz Jalil accepted the party's defeat in Nanded and also delved into the reasons.

"It's very sad that from Nanded we started our political base in Maharashtra and now we are not in a position to open our account in the corporation polls. There is no structure of party in the state. There is only the state president but there are no other office bearers. Out of 11 sitting corporators, eight of them switch their loyalty due to state president Syed Moin's style of functioning. And among them, seven got reelected on Congress ticket. The party founders should immediately resolve the issue otherwise it would be tough for the party to survive," Jalil said.

Updated Date: Oct 13, 2017 18:11 PM

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