The Congress will not have any sort of understanding with the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for the Karnataka Assembly polls, AICC secretary Madhu Goud Yaskhi said. He refuted media report that the state Congress leaders had a secret meeting with AIMIM leaders to ensure that there was no division of votes of minorities. The AIMIM is reportedly set to contest in 60 assembly segments, mainly in minority-dominated areas in the state. The election to the 224-member assembly in Karnataka is to be held this year. It is the only big state under the Congress’ rule at present. Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Puducherry are the other states/UT where the party is in power. “We never had any meeting with any AIMIM leader. It is fighting against the Congress. So, there is zero truth that there was any meeting with their leaders,” said Yaskhi, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in-charge for the poll-bound state.
He further accused the AIMIM of having an understanding with the BJP to divide the votes coming the Congress’ way. Yakshi also said the Congress would not have any sort of understanding with the AIMIM for the assembly polls.
According to a senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, the party already had a strategy in place to ensure that it got votes from minority communities. Announcing K Siddaramaiah as the party’s chief ministerial face has also been a “good move” to see the votes are not divided, the leader added.
“Siddaramaiah has worked well to consolidate votes from Muslim, OBC and SC communities over the past four or so years. So, we have backing of Muslim community,” the leader added. The leader said the Congress had pool of Muslim leaders whom it would field for campaigning to prevent division of minority votes. “We did that experiment in other assembly polls, including those in Gujarat and Bihar. It yielded results for us. It will yield result in Karnataka too,” he added.
While the schedule for the assembly polls is yet to be announced, campaign for the high voltage election has already begun with the leaders of the Congress and the BJP locked in a war of words. The state is expected to witness a three-corner contest with the H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) forming the third angle.