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AIMIM wants to join MVA to make 3-wheeler rickshaw a ‘comfortable car’, Sena rejects offer

Shiv Sena, the senior-most in MVA, rejected the suggestion saying the party can never ally with someone who bows down before Aurangzeb. Congress and NCP give measured reactions.

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Mumbai: The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has often faced charges of dividing the anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Muslim votes, wants to to join hands with the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in Maharashtra, saying the three-wheeler auto-rickshaw that the alliance is now can become a “comfortable car” with the AIMIM’s support.

The Shiv Sena, which is the senior-most party in the three-party MVA, outright rejected the suggestion saying the party can never ally with someone who bows down before Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. 

The other constituents of the MVA, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), gave measured reactions.

“There is no power left in Shiv Sena to defeat BJP single-handedly. That’s why they need the support of Congress and NCP. I propose that we add another wheel to the auto-rickshaw and make it a comfortable car,” AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel said while speaking to reporters in Aurangabad Friday.

“Whenever BJP wins, we get blamed that AIMIM is BJP’s B-team so I gave a proposal to one of NCP’s ministers that let us come with you so this matter can get solved once and for all,” Jaleel said.

Jaleel made the suggestion of AIMIM, which has two MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, allying with the MVA to state Health Minister Rajesh Tope, who was visiting the MP to offer condolences for his mother’s death.

The AIMIM’s offer comes ahead of municipal corporation elections in Aurangabad, where the party has been strong, expected to be held later this year.

Also read: NCP wants jailed Nawab Malik’s portfolios reassigned, but ‘no question’ of cabinet resignation

‘MVA runs on the ideals of Shivaji Maharaj, not Aurangzeb’

The Shiv Sena, which has been battling criticism from its former ally BJP of diluting its Hindutva agenda ever since it joined hands with the Congress and NCP, strongly rejected the AIMIM’s offer.

The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told reporters in Mumbai Saturday morning there was “no question of any alliance openly or behind closed doors” with the AIMIM.

“Maharashtra has a three-party government and will remain so. Who is the fourth or the fifth one, why does it matter? All three parties are run with the ideology of Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj. They are our ideals but if some party bows down before Aurangzeb’s grave and if he is their idol, they can’t be Maharashtra’s role model,” Raut said.

Raut also said that AIMIM has always been the BJP’s B-team and is in hidden agreement with the BJP, “as was seen in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal”.

According to Election Commission data, in the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh elections, the AIMIM got a tiny vote share of around 0.5 per cent, but played spoilsport for the Samajwadi Party-led alliance in seats such as Bijnor and Aurai, among others.

Jaleel retorted Saturday, saying Aurangzeb is a part of history and no Muslim bows in front of any grave. 

“He (Aurangzeb) may or may not be acceptable to you, but the fact is that he has ruled the country,” Jaleel told reporters.

Meanwhile, the BJP taunted the Shiv Sena saying an alliance between its former ally and AIMIM cannot be ruled out. Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said: “Will Sena and AIMIM come together? This cannot be ruled out. The Sena has started ‘Azaan’ competition and is saying Janab Balasaheb Thackeray. Hence their coming together cannot be ruled out.”

‘Need to study if AIMIM is secular, like-minded’

NCP Maharashtra president Jayant Patil neither rejected nor accepted the possibility of an alliance with AIMIM. 

“Like-minded parties should come together, but whether AIMIM is secular and like-minded needs to be studied. The party should also not make use of poisonous language,” Patil told reporters in Mumbai.

“The AIMIM’s role in the Aurangabad municipal corporation will decide where it stands. Whether it contests to make the BJP win or lose needs to be seen. At most places, the Samajwadi Party lost in Uttar Pradesh because of AIMIM,” he added.

Congress’ chief spokesperson in Maharashtra, Atul Londhe, also said that AIMIM needs to prove that it is indeed not the BJP’s B-team first.

“Not just in Aurangabad or Maharashtra, but in the entire country, the AIMIM needs to prove themselves and maybe then we can think over this proposal,” Londhe said in Mumbai.

Also read: ‘Shrewd politician, BJP puppet’: Why Governor Koshyari is at heart of Maharashtra deadlock


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