Aurangabad: A look at the data available from the Maharashtra Election Commission released after counting of votes in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation elections revealed that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimimeen (MIM) has more non-Muslim corporators than the 'secular' Congress party.
The data shows that the MIM led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who is accused of playing communal politics, had fielded a total of 12 non-Muslim candidates in the Aurangabad civic elections, and five of them have won the elections.
In total, the MIM had fielded 54 candidates. Out of them, 25 candidated assured a berth in the all important Marathwada city ruled by the Shiv Sena since past 30 years.
In contrast to this, out of the total 10 wards where the Congress party emerged victorious, eight are Muslims whereas just two are non-Muslims.
Ditto is for the Nationlaist Congress Party (NCP). The NCP has won just 03 seats, out of them one is Muslim and the rest two are non-Muslims.
The data shows the MIM is far ahead of the Congress and the NCP in terms of percentage in electing a non-Muslim candidate on the party ticket.
Aurangabad Municipal Corporation has a total of 113 seats, and the Shiv Sena, contesting the election in alliance with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ended as the single largest party, winning three seats more than the MIM.
In total, the newly elected civic body in Aurangabad will have 29 Muslim Corporators - a hieghest number in three decades. None of these corporators belonging to either Shiv Sena or its ally BJP.
Interestingly, the Republican Party of India (RPI), a party of Dalits, had also contested the election, as part of the saffron alliance, but none of its candidates could win.
The results has left the Saffron alliance, particularly the Shiv Sena fuming.
It's a matter of concern how the AIMIM has got strength from Muslim localities in Sambhajinagar where the Owaisi brothers had challenged to uproot the saffron flag and plant their green flag," the Shiv Sena said a day after the results were announced.
Shiv Sena calls Aurangabad as 'Sambhajinagar' and also been demanding it should be renamed after the great Maratha king instead of the Mughal emperor.
Ruing how some Dalit and non-Muslim candidates have also won on AIMIM tickets, the Sena accused the party of "playing dirty politics to divide the Dalit-Hindu votes", in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana.
"If the party, which was formed for the interests of only Muslim community, continues to get such support even from the Dalits, it's alarm time for not only social unity but also the Ambedkar movement," the edit warned.
The Congress party too is worried over the way it's traditional 'Muslim votes' are shifting to the MIM.
"We will surely introspect to know why the Muslims have deserted us. We will talk to everyone concerned, and try every thing to reach out to the community", Mumbai Regional Congress Committee President Sanjay Nirupam said.