The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will be contesting the 2018 Karnataka Assembly Elections, party chief Asaduddin Owaisi said in a formal announcement.
After an internal meeting with the Karnataka party unit at the headquarters in Hyderabad's Darussalam, Owaisi announced the decision and said, "If we are silent, our identity will be wiped out from Indian politics." Owaisi further stated that both - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress - were not different from each other in their political motives.
"There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress speaks about freedom of expression, but there is no freedom of expression in the Congress-ruled states. They are not allowing me to address a public meeting in Karnataka," Owaisi said. The AIMIM chief also accused the Congress of divisive politics in Gujarat in the run up to the assembly elections in December.
"In Gujarat, there are 12 per cent Patidars and 11 per cent Muslims, 32 MLAs are Patidar and 2 MLAs are Muslim out of 182. The Congress is giving reservation to the Patidars and lollipop to the Muslims," he alleged. Owaisi also said that Muslims were the most backward in Gujarat, after Dalits and the tribals.
He strongly condemned the arrest of Usman Ghani, president of the Karnataka MIM unit, on the occasion of Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations in Ilkal, Bagalkot District, and added that Muslims never supported communal forces when the 16th general elections were held Karnataka goes to polls in May, 2018.