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Akbaruddin Owaisi, Abu Asim Azmi in talks for SP-MIM deal in Maharashtra
Monday September 22, 2014 7:25 PM, Hena Farhat,

Maharashtra Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and sitting MLA Abu Asim Azmi, and Telangana legislator and senior leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had a meeting at former’s residence in South Mumbai Friday to discuss ways to form an alliance for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, a top SP leader said.

Azmi with Asaduddin Owaisi
[Hyderabad MP and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi talks with victims of 2006 Malegaon blasts while Maharashtra SP Chief Abu Asim Azmi looks on. (File Photo)]

The SP leader while talking to on the condition of anonymity revealed that the two leaders met on dinner at Abu Azmi’s Colaba residence, and discussed the possibility of an alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to avoid division of secular votes and provide a viable alternative to Cong-NCP and Sena-BJP alliances.

The meeting between the two leaders took place while Akbaruddin Owaisi was on the whirlwind tour of the metropolis and nearby Mumbra and Bhiwandi to kickstart MIM’s election campaign.

Akbaruddin Owaisi was unavailable for confirmation. But, when contacted Abu Asim Azmi , he shrugged off with a smile adding, “We are good friends and friends do have lunch and dinners together.”

The Owaisi family has close contacts with Abu Asim Azmi. Relation between the two developed further when Abu Asim Azmi was member of Rajya Sabha. Azmi and Hydrerabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi worked closely with other Muslim MPs on common issues, especially the indiscriminate arrests of Muslim youths for alleged terror links.

The SP leader who spoke to further said that the two leaders indeed discussed the possibility of an alliance, and also spoke to Janata Dal (Secular) leader Nehal Ahmed and Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi of AIUDF.

Concerns are raised after every election that the Muslim representation in parliament and legislative assemblies are declining day by day. The problem with the national parties including the Congress is that they don’t give party tickets to Muslims even from constituencies where they have fare chance of winning.

Interestingly, like earlier elections, Abu Asim Azmi this time again has sent signals to the Congress-NCP alliance to have, if not a formal alliance, an understanding in the election to avoid secular votes. He however has not received any response so far.

Against this backdrop, the report of talks between Abu Asim Azmi and Akbaruddin Owaisi is seen as a positive step in the right direction.

“It is high time for the like-minded secular parties to unite. But, the Cong-NCP leaders will never do this. They will also not like to see emergence of any party other than theirs. There will not be any problem to them if Sena-BJP alliance wins. But, they will never allow creation of an alternative”, Aleem Faizee, a political analyst, said.

“It will be a right decision if SP and MIM join hands and contest election together”, he added.

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