After Aurangabad poll showing, AIMIM's got BMC in its sights

Hyderabad-based party puts up a good show at the Aurangabad civic polls, winning 25 out of 113 seats; Byculla legislator Waris Pathan says it will win more than 50 seats in the 227-member BMC house

After staging a stupendous performance in the Aurangabad municipal polls where it won 25 out of 113 seats on Thursday, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has its sights set on the Mumbai civic elections scheduled to be held in February 2017.

AIMIM Byculla legislator Waris Pathan has his sights set on the Mumbai civic elections scheduled to be held in February 2017
AIMIM Byculla legislator Waris Pathan has his sights set on the Mumbai civic elections scheduled to be held in February 2017

The party wants to win at least 50 out of 227 seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and put behind its discouraging show in the Bandra (East) Assembly by-polls early this month. AIMIM’s fiery approach is expected to make the BJP and Sena review their respective strategies for the BMC polls.

The saffron parties fought as an alliance in Aurangabad to tame the AIMIM challenge and won 58 seats (Sena 35, BJP 23). The ruling partners, who contested last year’s Assembly polls against each other, may forge a pact for the BMC where they are now ruling partners.

The Sena contested 64 and the BJP contested 49 seats in Aurangabad. AIMIM’s entry in Mumbai was as dramatic last year. It upstaged mighty parties, and tamed the Modi wave to emerge victorious in the Byculla Assembly segment and finished third in Shiv Sena’s stronghold Bandra (East).

It also won an Assembly seat in Aurangabad in the same elections. Earlier, it had dented the Congress in Nanded’s municipal polls. But it lost its poll deposit to a fierce battle between the Sena’s Trupti Sawant and Congress veteran Narayan Rane early this month in Bandra (East).

Despite the defeat, the votes it won (8,000 less than the 2014 polls) proved that AIMIM could still be a spoiler for major parties, especially where the Muslim community is a deciding factor. “In Mumbai, the AIMIM will concentrate on areas where the Muslims and Dalits are in majority. We’re a party that works for these backward classes.

The Congress and other parties have failed miserably,” the party’s Byculla MLA Waris Pathan told mid-day on Thursday. Pathan said that the performance in Aurangabad was a sign of what would happen in Mumbai. “Now nobody can stop us.

We have shown the Congress, BJP and Sena our might. We are the single largest opposition in Aurangabad. In fact, we may say we are the single largest party there because we fought alone, unlike the alliance of the Sena-BJP,” he said, adding that his party AIMIM has put the Bandra (East) debacle behind it.

According to Pathan, the party has already started working on a strategy for the 2017 Mumbai polls. “We can easily win 50 seats, and if we do exceedingly well in planning, we will surpass all expectations.” He, however, dismissed accusations that his party ate into the Congress’ vote share and helped parties like the BJP and Sena win. “If the accusation is true, the Congress should have won hands down in Navi Mumbai where we did not contest.”

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