Only when MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi was taken into custody near Humnabad in Karnataka for flouting prohibitory orders a few days ago, did it come to light that he was there to campaign for the party candidates.
MIM is contesting in the Muslim-dominated wards in the municipal polls in Bidar, Basavakalyan and Raichur municipalities in Karnataka, which are slated to be held on March 7.
In Bidar town, out of the 3.45 lakh population, Muslims constitute 1.27 lakh. In Basavakalyan, out of the 59,000 population their number is 29,000 and in Raichur there are about 61,000 Muslims out of a total of 2.26 lakh people.
The AIMIM’s reach has hitherto been confined to Hyderabad and a few parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema, where there are large chunks of Muslim population.
The party has tested the waters in Maharashtra and won 11 seats in the Nanded Municipal Corporation.
“Our aim is to strengthen the party in AP and outside,” Owaisi said. “We have been getting requests from Maharashtra, Karnataka, the North and other states to visit those areas. The requests have gone up after the arrest of Akbaruddin Owaisi.”
Notwithstanding the snapping of ties with the Congress government in AP and the UPA at the Centre, and the arrest of party MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi in hate speech case and Asaduddin Owaisi in a case of manhandling of Medak district officials, MIM is setting out boldly to strengthen itself.
The party’s image was badly bruised by Akbar’s hate speech, but it recovered. The impact of this reduced with Asad’s arrest, which, many said, was politically motivated after a tiff with CM N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.