BENGALURU: Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has decided that his party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will not contest the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections. Instead of fielding its own candidates, the party will extend its support to JD(S).
Asaduddin Owaisi told The New Indian Express that his party will try its best to ensure that the JD(S) comes to power. "We believe that it is in the interest of Karnataka and the nation that a non-BJP, non-Congress party comes to power in Karnataka and the subsequent Parliamentary election," he said. The party that had initially identified seats, especially in North Karnataka and Bengaluru, to field its candidates has now decided to solely back H D Kumaraswamy.
Owaisi will also address public rallies if necessary to seek votes in favour of JD(S). "There should be a qualitative change in politics and public deliverance," Owaisi added, justifying his party's decision to back the JD(S). MIM will, however, contest the urban local body elections scheduled after the Assembly polls. "When we were in talks with MIM, they did not seek any seats for the Assembly elections. They have their eyes set on the 2019 Parliamentary election. We hope this mutual support helps both parties next year," said a source from the JD(S) who initiated talks for a pre-poll alliance with the AIMIM.
The MIM's decision to withdraw from the elections will help the Congress avoid a largescale split in Muslim votes. While MIM has not made a debut in Karnataka electoral fray, the party's ideologies have takers in pockets of Hyderabad-Karnataka region. With the possibility of MIM making a debut and the entry of All India Mahila Empowerment Party (AIMEP), the BJP was sure of a split in Muslim votes. With Owaisi's decision, a change in calculations has come about. The BJP, however, claims that MIM's withdrawal makes no difference. "AIMIM is not a major player in Karnataka. They may have a small presence in a few constituencies by virtue of minority population but when you look at the larger picture, it makes no difference who they support," said Malavika Avinash, BJP spokesperson.
Owaisi's backing for JD(S) comes two days after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao also expressed his support to the JD(S) and appealed to the Telugu speaking population in the state to vote for the regional party.