In last few days Akbaruddin Owaisis, the young leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has conducted several public rallies in Mumbai where BMC elections are due next week. Akbaruddin Owaisi who was booked for hate speech and after several allegations levied on him, the rallies of 47-year-old leader are attracting more crowds than that of even Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis or Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. But as Akbaruddin Owaisi’s popularity grows in Mumbai, it is Samajwadi Party and the Congress which is feeling the heat now.
Younger Owaisi – the brother of Asaduddin Owaisi – who is known for making communal statements, has refrained himself from taking that path during his campaign for Mumbai civic polls. In most of his speech, the AIMIM legislator typically begins by attacking the Congress-NCP and then ends his talk by targeting the BJP and Shiv Sena. Sometimes the AIMIM leader also touches controversial issues including that of Babri Masjid.
But looking at the number of crowd listening to him in his rallies, it looks like he is hitting the mark most of the time, especially when he addresses rallies among the youth. In last few weeks, Akbaruddin Owaisi has conducted almost 4-5 public rallies in Mumbai, most of them were in Muslim-dominated pockets of Mumbai.
The growing influence of AIMIM – which is fighting the Mumbai civic polls for the first time – had cause heartburn to rival Congress and Samajwadi Party, as the Owaisi brothers party is directly affecting their vote bank which is decades old.
In Mumbadevi, Nagpada, Madanpura, Bandra East, Govandi and many more pockets across Mumbai where minorities live in large numbers, the AIMIM has fielded its candidate in 56 wards across Mumbai and the party claims that they will win at least 40-45 seats.
On the others side, by the looking at the popularity of Akbaruddin Owaisi Congress leaders are getting jittery and they also fear that their party’s prospects are likely to be hit in the upcoming elections.
A Congress leader reportedly admitted that Akbaruddin Owaisi is becoming extremely popular among the youth who are always there for cheering him. “His popularity is a cause for concern,” a Congress leader was quoted on the condition of anonymity
The Congress leader even conceded that the AIMIM which is debuting in BMC Elections 2017, may get around 35 to 40 seats, which has become a cause of concern for both Congress as well as Samajwadi Party.