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As 4 AIMIM candidates win in MP civic polls debut, here’s what it means for Owaisi party

AIMIM also came third in 2 mayoral elections, including in Burhanpur where it got some 10,000 votes while BJP narrowly edged out Congress to win. Results of first phase announced Sunday.

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New Delhi: Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has made its presence felt in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-governed Madhya Pradesh (MP), winning four wards and coming third in two mayoral seats in its debut municipal election in the state.

It was also instrumental in the defeat of a Congress mayoral candidate (Burhanpur seat), a warning signal for the state’s principal opposition party, which usually gets a sizeable chunk of Muslim votes.

Voting in Madhya Pradesh was held in two phases on 6 July and 13 July. The counting of votes for the first phase — for 11 municipal corporations, 36 municipal councils and 86 town councils — took place Sunday. The results of the second phase — five municipal corporations, 40 municipal councils and 169 town councils — will be announced Wednesday.

According to the 2011 census, Muslims constitute 6.6 per cent of the population in MP, which will hold assembly polls in November next year.

The AIMIM contested in 51 wards spread across seven cities in the urban body elections held earlier this month. According to the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission, two AIMIM candidates won councillor posts in Khandwa Municipal Corporation, and one each in Burhanpur Municipal Corporation and Jabalpur Municipal Corporation. In the latter two, the party’s mayoral candidates also came third.

The state Congress has alleged that Owaisi decided to contest the municipal elections only to give “benefit to the BJP”. “Our [mayoral] candidate would have won in Burhanpur as the margin was very narrow. The AIMIM candidate secured around 10,000 votes there,” state Congress spokesperson Arun Yadav told ThePrint.

In Burhanpur, BJP’s Madhuri Patel won the mayor’s position, defeating Congress candidate Shahnaz Bano by just 542 votes. AIMIM candidate Shaista Sohail Hashmi secured around 10,000 votes here.

Yadav added: “AIMIM doesn’t have a network in Madhya Pradesh, and Owaisi has not come here before. He decided to contest the elections only to benefit the BJP by fielding Muslim candidates in Muslim-dominated areas. He tried it in Bhopal and Indore too. The public has understood his game.”

According to Syed Minhajuddin, Madhya Pradesh poll observer of AIMIM, the party performed quite well despite preparing for the elections at the last minute. “The decision to contest the elections was taken quite late but despite that, we have been able to perform successfully. Our leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s rallies in Indore and other places were cancelled days before voting, but still people reposed their faith in us,” he told ThePrint.

On the allegations, he said: “There is nothing new in these charges. During a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh, Owaisiji had said that despite forming the government in the state, the Congress could not manage its own party, and that led to the BJP coming to power. How can they blame us for everything that goes wrong in their party?”

AIMIM chief Owaisi had held public meetings in Khandwa, Bhopal, Indore, and Jabalpur to garner support for his party’s candidates.

The AIMIM’s performance has come as a boost for it ahead of the MP state elections, and Minhajuddin said the party will now take a decision on contesting the Assembly polls.

Also read: BJP wins in MP municipal polls but loses 4 crucial mayoral seats. Congress wrests 3 & AAP 1

How parties fared

Of the 11 civic bodies where voting took place in the first phase of elections in MP on 6 July, the BJP managed to retain seven of the 11 mayoral seats, while the Congress wrested three seats from the party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged one.

The BJP won the mayoral elections in Burhanpur, Satna, Khandwa, Sagar, Ujjain, Indore and Bhopal, the Congress in Chhindwara, Jabalpur and Gwalior, while the AAP won Singrauli.

As for councillor’s seats, in Burhanpur the AIMIM contested 14 seats and won one; in Jabalpur it contested seven and won 2, while in Khandwa it contested 11 seats and won one.

In Khandwa, AIMIM candidate Shakira Bilal won as councillor from ward 14, defeating her nearest rival, Congress candidate Noor Jahan Begum, by a margin of 285 votes. Shakira got 902 votes, while Noor Jahan only received 617.

Similarly, in Jabalpur, AIMIM’s Shama Parveen defeated Congress candidate Saima Wasim by a margin of 1,527 votes from ward 49. Another party candidate, Samreen, defeated THE Congress’S Shabnam Firdous by 209 votes from ward 51 in the city.

In Burhanpur, AIMIM’s Rafiq Ahmed won a tough contest against independent candidate Shahzad Noor from ward 2 by a margin of 156 votes.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also read: Congress, Sena & more — what’s behind AIMIM and Owaisi’s overtures to the opposition 

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