CHENNAI: After All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi announced that the party will contest the Tamil Nadu elections, the party says it has begun talks with the DMK for a possible alliance. However, the Dravidian major is unlikely to accommodate it due to pressure from other Muslim parties in the DMK-Congress-Left alliance.
AIMIM state unit president Vakeel Ahmed told The New Indian Express that the party has made a tentative list of 11 constituencies (including Chepauk, Thousand Lights, Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Krishnagiri, Villupuram, Ranipet and Madurai) out of a total of 22 seats where it would be contesting.
"The AIADMK is not an option because of the BJP. Talks are still on with the DMK. However, if nothing works out, we will be contesting on our own," the spokesperson said, adding channels are open with other parties as well.
When asked about the pressure exerted by Muslim parties on the DMK against the AIMIM, party spokesperson Masood Khan said they are apprehensive about its performance, backed by the "formidable Owaisi".
Stating that the party's agenda is to increase Muslim representation in legislatures proportional to the population, Khan quipped that Muslim parties in Tamil Nadu are comfortable with two or three seats they are getting from Dravidian parties.
"The Muslim population in Tamil Nadu is around 9 per cent, which ideally means there should have been around 25 MLAs. But how many do we have now?" Khan said.
Elated by the party's performance in the Gujarat municipality and Bihar assembly elections, Khan exuded confidence in repeating a similar performance in the southern state.
Asked about its popularity being limited only to the Urdu speaking Tamil population, he said it is false propaganda peddled to tarnish the party.
Even as the party is likely to release the list of candidates on March 7, sources said party chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi would be campaigning in places where party candidates are contesting.
A history professor belonging to the Muslim community said Owaisi's aggression may be essential in more polarised states in northern parts of the country, but not in Tamil Nadu.
"Both the Dravidian parties have always been accommodative of Muslim issues. Also, polarisation on communal lines has not been an issue in Tamil Nadu," the professor said on condition of anonymity.
Another academician said the AIMIM's participation and Owaisi's strong opinions are likely to benefit the AIADMK alliance.