AIMIM Tamil Nadu unit wants to contest in 20 seats, submits list to Owaisi

AIMIM Tamil Nadu unit wants to contest in 20 seats, submits list to Owaisi
The AIMIM’s Tamil Nadu unit has finalized a list of 20 seats from where they are hoping to contest in the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections. The list has been sent to the party chief and national supremo Asaduddin Owaisi who is also the MP from Hyderabad. Speaking to TNM, Vakeel Ahmed, the Tamil Nadu State President of the AIMIM confirmed that the list has been submitted and that they are awaiting the final word from the party chief. He said, “Our list has 22 seats in total. 20 are from Tamil Nadu and 2 are from Puducherry. Out of all these we have our strongholds in many areas and are confident of winning a minimum of 8 seats. Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Krishnagiri, Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai etc. I will not be able to reveal more details at the moment.” According to the party president, in a day or two the AIMIM will announce its decision about which alliance the party will be going ahead with. “90% it is finalized that we are going to contest in an alliance, which alliance I will not be able to reveal at the moment. If that doesn’t work out, we are ready to contest the election on our own”, said Ahmed. The AIMIM has also made it clear that they will not enter into an alliance with the AIADMK as long as the BJP is in the alliance. While the DMK-led alliance is the most probable choice, the alliance already has three Muslim parties who had vociferously objected to AIMIM’s entry. Therefore, party insiders say they are also considering other options before the final announcement.   The AIMIM had earlier carried out a survey to gauge the mood of the people. This was done to identify where the party is likely to garner support if they contest. Though the state President had earlier told TNM in November that they are likely to contest around 25-30 seats, the final list submitted to the party chief has the names of only 22 seats. The Tamil Nadu unit is planning for a state working committee meeting in Chennai, the probable dates for the meeting have also been intimated to the party chief. They are now waiting for the approval from the chief to finalize the meeting, the seats and the further course of action. “First we will have a party workers’ meet. From every district those holding a post will be part of this meeting. Every district will have around 50 members. Around 1500-1800 members will be part of this meeting. We are hoping to organize this meeting on March 7 depending on the approval”, revealed Ahmed. Speaking to TNM, Sumanth C Raman a political analyst closely following the developments in Tamil Nadu said, “MIM predominantly has a base among the Urdu speaking Muslims and so in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu—Ambur, Vaniyambadi and that belt they will have some level of influence. The Southern part of Tamil Nadu predominantly has Tamil speaking Muslims and many of them don’t know Urdu at all. The MIM does not have any appeal with this group. Tamil Nadu has half a dozen Muslim parties- The IUML, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, their breakaway faction, SDPI and now the MIM which are vying for the Muslim votes.” Sumanth Raman believes an Owaisi tie up with Kamal Haasan or TTV Dhinakaran's AMMK cannot be ruled out.  Writer and political commentator Shalin Maria Lawrence feels that Owaisi’s presence in Tamil Nadu would prove beneficial for the minorities in the state. She said, “There are several Muslim parties in Tamil Nadu but most people feel that Owaisi’s AIMIM is an aggressive option for them. So far, the Muslims have been protected in Tamil Nadu, but the Dravidian parties have been adopting Hindutva politics and this is threatening for the minorities. In order to compete with the BJP, the Dravidian parties are also not taking a rationale route. SDPI, Popular Front are all there in Tamil Nadu, but the level of aggression that Owaisi brings along cannot be matched." Speaking about alliances, Shalin felt if Owaisi and the DMK go together then it will work best for the parties. “Owaisi is looking for more Muslim representation in Tamil Nadu. He would expect DMK to come forward and speak to him. I feel, Owaisi should go with a party like DMK but for that DMK should agree to go with Owaisi. Keeping aside the several factors, Owaisi and DMK would be the best bet for assertive minority politics," she said. In 2016, the MIM contested from Vaniyambadi and they polled 10,000 votes. The party that has been doing well in small and big elections in several states is now hoping to make its mark even in Tamil Nadu. Now that the list has been submitted, the Tamil Nadu unit is presently busy planning to chalk a schedule and bring its star campaigner Asaduddin Owaisi to all its constituencies during the election campaign in Tamil Nadu. READ: President's rule imposed in Puducherry after Congress-led govt's fall

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