Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Obituary: Salar Takes MIM To New Political Heights Beyond Hyderabad

September 30, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 29: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi was an astute politician who manoeuvred
his Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen from a fledging party to a national political entity. Today MIM is the most influential Muslim political party in the country with 50 corporators (in the erstwhile municipal corporation of Hyderabad and other civic bodies in the State), five legislators and an MP. The MIM is part of the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress at the Centre.
Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi took over the reins of the MIM from his father Abdul Wahed Owaisi at a very young age when the party was passing through a troubled phase after the Police Action. Young Owaisi ran the party when his father was jailed for 10 months after the then government took a decision to ban the Majlis.
A self-made leader Owaisi made his political debut in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad when he was elected from Mallepally in 1960. His political strategy paid off and MIM's strength in the Hyderabad Parliamentary constituency went up from a mere 58,000 votes in 1962 to the magical winning numbers in 1984. By 1980 the MIM had the support of 1.12 lakh voters. The vote-share doubled in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections to over four lakh from 2.2 lakh votes in 1984 LS polls.
Owaisi played a key role as the chief of Babri Masjid Action Committee on the controversial Ayodhya issue. He stepped down after the demolition of the mosque. Though he faced strong opposition from his one-time lieutenant Mohammad Amanullah Khan, Owaisi successfully consolidated his base in the old city. Amanullah had differed with Owaisi on the Babri issue accusing him of colluding with the Hindutva forces.

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