BENGALURU — Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM plans to field candidates in about 25 constituencies and is eyeing an electoral alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) in the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the party’s state unit president Osman Ghani said on Tuesday.
Speaking to PTI, party chief Owaisi said: “So far, we have announced three candidates. We are open for alliance. We will definitely contest the elections. Whether we will have an alliance or not, we will have to wait”.
State unit chief Ghani said the party is in talks with the JD(S) headed by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda for an alliance but the latter is yet to respond to the offer. He said the party would contest in about 25 segments in the state.
In the 2018 polls for the 224-member Assembly in Karnataka, AIMIM had backed the JD(S) and not fielded any candidates.
Asked about parties with which AIMIM is open for alliance, Owaisi, the Hyderabad Lok Sabha member, said: “Congress does not want to have an alliance because they make wild and baseless allegations against me. So, we will see”.
Owaisi termed as “completely illegal” the Basavaraj Bommai government’s recent decision to scrap four per cent reservation for Muslims within the OBC category, and expressed indignation: “Why weren’t there protests? Why weren’t strong statements emanated from so-called secular leaders and parties?”
On oft-repeated criticism by some parties that AIMIM fielding candidates lead to “division” of the Muslim vote, he wondered why such a question is not being posed to leaders of other communities such as Lingayats, Vokkaligas and Kurubas.
He also recalled that the AIMIM had not fielded candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, where the Congress could get only one seat. “Was it because of the division of Muslim vote or consolidation of ‘majority’ vote for the BJP?” Owaisi asked.
The AIMIM leader noted that the BJP formed the government in Karnataka in 2019 with the help of defectors from the Congress. — PTI