Hyderabad: It was celebration time for Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) which made an impressive debut in Maharashtra assembly elections by bagging two seats and leading in a third constituency.
In its first attempt to expand outside Hyderabad and have pan-India presence, the Muslim political party stunned the rivals by making inroads in the western state.
Scores of party activists celebrated the party'c victory at Darussalam, the party headquarters here. A stream of workers and supporters were seen congratulating MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and his younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi, who aggressively campaigned in Mumbai and parts of Marathwada.
The party fielded 24 candidates and backed an Independent.
Party leaders feel it is a big achievement for the party considering the fact that it did not have any proper organisational structure in the state and majority of its candidates were political novices. They pointed out that the party also finished runners up in five or six constituency.
MIM bagged Byculla seat in Mumbai and also Aurangabad Central. It was leading in Aurangabad East, party sources said.
"It is a good beginning. We will now build on this victory and expand the party to other states," a senior party leader told IANS. He did not wish to be identified.
He believes the poll results reflect disillusionment of Muslims with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
"The Congress-NCP alliance was in power for 15 years but did nothing for the development of Muslims. It even failed to protect the community. In fact Muslim youths were arrested and tortured after blasts in Malegaon in which right-wing fundamentalist groups were involved," the leader said.
He pointed out that the conditions of Muslims, who constitute over 13 percent of the state's population, went from bad to worse during last 15 years.
"The Muslims were looking for an alternative so that their voice can be heard in the legislature and the MIM provided them the platform," said another leader.
A key political force in Hyderabad, MIM has seven legislators in 119-member Telangana assembly. It is also continuing its domination in Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat for last three decades. Asaduddin Owaisi was re-elected to parliament for the third consecutive term in recent elections.
MIM, revived by Asaduddin's grandfather Abdul Wahid Owaisi with a new constitution after merger of Hyderabad State with the Indian Union, performed well in the assembly elections in Telangana. It also contested few seats in neighboring Andhra Pradesh but could not open its account.