HYDERABAD: It’s an unbearably hot March afternoon, the blistering heat forcing the people to desert the streets and take shelter in the cool confines of their dwellings. But at Darussalam, the fortified headquarters of All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in North Goshamahal, the scene is different. Despite the rising mercury, hundreds gather in an orderly manner to meet their leader Asaduddin Owaisi and to pour out their grievances.
The AIMIM chief, dressed in a spotless grey sherwani and wearing an olive taqiyah, lends ear to a soft-spoken elderly woman.
After a brief chat, he asks a party member to dial a number and speaks to an official. Then he tells the woman, “Amma, please meet the official next week. Your problem will be solved.”
This attitude, the party cadre and his followers believe, will ensure that Owaisi will once again win the Lok Sabha elections from the Hyderabad constituency.
The other undeniable fact, again according to his followers, is that there is “no strong opponent” to defeat the 49-year-old MP in the constituency. Owaisi is optimistic, or rather confident, of fourth consecutive victory from the seat, previously held by his father late Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi until 2004.
Since the first time he contested, Owaisi has been winning elections with a comfortable margin. His biggest margin was in the 2014 general elections, when he defeated BJP’s Bhagavanth Rao by a mammoth two-lakh margin.
Owaisi’s political battle is not limited to the public arena, but transcends into his personal life, as he has a battle of his own against his father, who had groomed him during his formative years. “One day, my father should be known by my name. People still refer to me as Salahuddin’s son. It is because of the love and affection that people have for him, but it affects my ego,” Owaisi had said in an interview to a news channel recently.
When it comes to popularity, hogging media space or even national appeal, however, Asaduddin is already miles ahead of his father. Apart from being a regular in news channels, Owaisi has realised the potential of social media. He is one of the few politicians who handles their Twitter accounts themselves, and do not rely on social media managers. His speeches have also garnered him followers among his critics. Case in point, his terming Jaish-e-Mohammed as “shayateen” found praises among a right-wing community that usually doesn’t spare him for his political stand.