Cong draws plans to checkmate Owaisi's AIMIM in Karnataka

Cong draws plans to checkmate Owaisi's AIMIM in Karnataka

Congress has drawn up elaborate plans to checkmate attempts by the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to queer the pitch in the Karnataka Assembly elections by contesting 60 seats.

Congress strategists view the electoral forays by AIMIM, Arvind Kejriwal's AAP and some other smaller outfits as a ploy by the BJP to create a division in voters to fare well in the closely contested Assembly elections.

Congress is planning to deploy its Muslim leaders in Assembly seats where AIMIM would be in the fray to create awareness among the voters that a "vote for Owaisi is a vote for BJP".

"We had tasted success in the civic polls in Bengaluru as well as Nanded in Maharashtra where AIMIM is trying to gain a foothold," a senior Congress leader told DH. In the 2012 Maharashatra elections, AIMIM had won 11 seats, while it failed to open its account in the elections last year.

The AIMIM had managed to win a sizable number
of seats in Nanded and Aurangabad civic bodies in the previous civic polls that had put Congress leaders on an alert about its waning influence among the minorities.

During the civic elections last year, several Muslim leaders of the Congress from neighbouring Nizamabad in Telangana were pressed for campaign in Nanded, the home district of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

"We expect AIMIM to put up candidates in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, and northern Karnataka where the going may be tough for the BJP," the Congress leader said.

Even in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections in
2015, Congress leaders had trailed Owaisi with its Muslim leaders visiting wards where AIMIM had campaigned cautioning them of the BJP's plans.

Owaisi had fielded 30 candidates in Muslim-dominated wards during the BBMP elections apparently to eat into Congress votes.

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