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Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Mushawarat appeals to Maharashtra voters

AIMMM appealed to secular parties not to help BJP but reach understanding with INC-NCP for a fair allocation of seats and called upon Muslim, SC & other secular voters to defeat the BJP-SS. In a statement issued on 30 August, 2004, Syed Shahabuddin, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat said: "The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) has taken note of the announcement of the Election Commission of India for holding State Assembly election in Maharashtra in September-October, 2004. The AIMMM considers that both for local as well as national reasons, and to achieve short-term and long-term nationalist objectives, the communal forces represented by the BJP-Shiv Sena must be defeated and the secular alliance of INC-NCP must win in what is, by and large, a direct contest between them.

He added that the AIMMM is surprised by announcements made by the SP and the BSP to contest all seats in the election. This electoral strategy is bound to split Muslim and SC votes and whatever be their motive, cut into the secular votes and thus help the BJP-SS combine to win some seats. The AIMMM, therefore, appeals to both the SP and the BSP not to play partisan politics when the future of secularism and good governance is at stake, check their electoral ambitions and enter into negotiations with the INC-SP for such local adjustments that may be possible in constituencies where they may have a winnable candidate.

The appeal called upon the INC-NCP Alliance to invite all secular parties which have even one seat in the Assembly or which secured the highest vote in any Assembly sector in the General Election, 2004 to join them in the fight against the communal forces and give them due representation in the common list of candidates based on State % of votes and their 'wins' in the General Election. The AIMMM advised the INC-NCP to give due representation to all communities and social groups in their lists and due place to their grievances in their manifesto.

Finally, the AIMMM appealed to all secular voters, particularly, the Muslim community, to use their full electoral strength to defeat the BJP-SS axis which is not only anti-secular but anti-national.

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