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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Maharashtra: Owaisi men can't contest civic polls under AIMIM banner

In a major jolt to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) before the municipal elections due next year, the State Election Commission (SEC) has cancelled the registration of 191 unrecognised political parties including the outfit led by Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi.

The registration of these outfits has been scrapped for not submitting copies of income tax returns and audit reports despite being served notices in this regard.
The right-wing AIMIM had made a swashbuckling entry into Maharashtra's politics in 2012 by winning 11 seats in the Nanded civic polls. Though it stayed away from contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it fought the assembly polls later that year, and secured a major political opening by winning two of the 26 seats it contested from and damaged the Congress and NCP at many places. The AIMIM, which has emerged as a major contender for the Muslim vote, is the main opposition in Aurangabad and plans to test the waters in the civic polls due next year in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Thane.

If the AIMIM does not ensure necessary compliances before these elections due in early 2017 and get itself registered again, it may not be able to get preferential allotment of its symbol—the kite.

A total of 359 political parties are registered with the SEC and this includes 17 recognised and 342 unrecognised political parties. These parties have to submit Income Tax returns and audited accounts to the Commission on an annual basis. A total of 326 parties had been issued notices at various stages for non-compliance. Of these, the registration of 191 parties has been cancelled due to non-compliance within the set time period. These include outfits like the Chhatisgarh-based Gondwana Ganatantra Party and RPI (Khobragade), Lucknow-headquartered Socialist Party (India) and 28 parties based in Mumbai including the All India Krantikari Congress, Satyashodhak Samaj Paksha, Maharashtra Rajiv Congress and Kisan Garib Nagrik Party, most of which have little political presence.

"This is as per the… law which is in existence. (These are) parties which have not followed the law," state election commissioner J.S Saharia told dna. "They will not get preferential allotment of symbol," he said, adding that "if somebody wants a particular symbol and the other party also wants that symbol, who will get the preference?" he said.

During elections, the SEC allocates symbols on priority to registered political parties. This is done vide rules like the Maharashtra Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 2009.

"If they (parties whose registration has been cancelled) approach the Commission, we can see if their case is genuine," said Saharia, adding that this could be considered if the rules were followed.

"Officially, the AIMIM will not be able to contest in its name," said a SEC official, adding that the parties whose registration had been cancelled would have to apply within three months with relevant documents and pay a Rs 1 lakh fine. It takes around two-and-half months for the registration process to be completed.

Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, said they would appeal against the cancellation of registration. He claimed that they had received the notice about four months ago, following which a team from his party had flown down from Hyderabad and had submitted the required documents. "Once we get the letter, we will go in appeal," said Jaleel.

On questions regarding the impact of the preferential allotment of the symbol, Jaleel said the party's kite symbol had not been registered. In the recent Aurangabad municipal corporation polls, the AIMIM candidates had applied for the kite symbol, but three candidates had not been allocated it and fought the elections on a different symbol.

DNA India News

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