MIM President Salahuddin Owaisi passes away

By Mohammed Siddique, TwoCircles.net

Hyderabad: Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) passed away on Monday in Hyderabad after a prolonged illness. 76 year old Owaisi, popularly called Salar-e-Millat (leader of the community) was admitted to the Care hospital two weeks ago with the complaint of difficulty in breathing and he was kept on ventilator. But his condition gradually deteriorated and he died of multiple organ failure today.

He is survived by wife, three sons and a daughter. His eldest son Asaduddin Owaisi, the member of Lok Sabha from Hyderabad is likely to succeed him as the president of the party. His second son Akbaruddin Owaisi is the leader of five member MIM group in the state legislative assembly while third son Burhanuddin edits and publishes an Urdu daily “Etemaad”.

The Namaz-e-Janaza will be performed on Tuesday afternoon at party headquarters Darussalam and he will be laid to rest at the family burial ground in Dargah Agha Dawood.

The minister for power Mohammed Ali Shabbir announced that the senior most Parliamentarian from the state will be accorded state funeral and the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy along with other cabinet colleagues will attend the funeral. The Chief Minister who was in Delhi has cancelled all his programs and was rushing back to Hyderabad.

An emergency meeting of MIM executive unanimously elected Asaduddin Owaisi as the new president of the party. “Under the leadership of Asaduddin Owaisi we will continue to fight for the constitutional rights of Muslims and to uplift them educationally, economically and politically”, said Akbaruddin Owaisi, party’s floor leader in assembly.

As the news of his death spread, thousands of workers and supporters of MIM gathered outside his residence in Himayat Nagar mourning his death.

Starting with Abdul Wahed Owaisi, who became the first president of MIM on its revival in 1950s, the Owaisis became politically the most influential and powerful family in Hyderabad. Salahuddin Owaisi became the president of MIM in November 1975 after his father and a reputed lawyer passed away.

Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi Visited Darus Salam Hyderabad with MIM Supremo Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi

During his tumultuous political career spanning over nearly half a century Salahuddin Owaisi built MIM in to a strong political force completely dominating the Muslim dominated parts of the city. In a reflection of its strength the MIM became the ruling party in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad whenever polls to the civic body were conducted. It also increased its strength in the state assembly gradually. Owaisi himself was elected to the assembly for the first time in 1960 and remained its member with out any break till 1983.

In 1984 he was elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha from Hyderabad and represented the seat for 20 years without any break. With his health failing he retired from electoral politics in 2004 and made the way for his London trained barrister Asaduddin Owaisi.

While initially he had the image of a fiery speaker and a rabble rouser championing communal politics, the latter half of his political career was marked by his keen interests in educational and social welfare of the minority community. He set up several professional educational institutions including a medical and an engineering college, a super specialty hospital and an urban cooperative bank.

Asaduddain Owaisi, MP, and Akberuddain Owaisi, MLA, along with MIM Supremo Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi

During the 1970s and 1980s, when communal riots had become a regular feature in Hyderabad, the MIM emerged as the champion and savior of Muslim minority while the Hindus rallied around the BJP.

He enjoyed a blow cold blow hot relationship with the major political parties including Congress. In an acknowledgement of the strength and influence of MIM, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had visited MIM’s headquarters Darussalam in Hyderabad in 1980. MIM is till an ally of the Congress party in the state politics.