Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
MUMBAI – Well-known Muslim activist Amir Eidresy, who has been quite active for the economic upliftment of Indian Muslim community, has decided to contest election from Mumbai’s Sion Koliwada constituency in the ongoing Maharashtra assembly elections.
Eidresy, who is the President of Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), is the candidate of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), an alliance of weaker sections — Dalit and Muslims. As the Congress and the NCP seems to be weakening their position in this Maharashtra elections, the VBA is emerging as major opposition in the state.
The AMP, under the leadership of Eidresy, has been doing various activities for social and economic progress of Muslim community. But this is the first time he entered into the electoral battle.
Explaining the reason behind his sudden decision to enter into politics, he said “under the current political and social scenario in the country, there is a dire need of educated and understanding people should go to sate assemblies and parliament. The constitution is under attack and the constitutional bodies are being harmed. The autocracy of the government is increasing day by day and the opposition is becoming weaker. So, alternate voices are needed to come into the electoral politics”.
Eidresy told that he has been thinking of contesting elections for the last two years but he was not fully prepared to take the plunge into politics. He was offered tickets by various parties to contest the last Lok Sabha elections but he did not accept their offer at that time. In this assembly elections, he chose to contest elections on the ticket of the VBA.
He chose the VBA because he feels that the party is the strong social alliance of various communities and castes especially Dalit and Muslims.
At the state level, VBA is raising the issues of deprived sections of Dalits and Muslims in this assembly elections. In his constituency, which has a large number slum ghettos, Eidresy is raising local issues which are directly affecting the people. He said that his constituency is Asia’s largest slum area which has been neglected by the government. “People live there a life worse than animals’. They don’t have even basic facilities. Providing them basic facilities is our biggest aim. There is a lack of education, employment, healthcare and schools in the area,” he said.
He is also focusing on the lack of basic civic infrastructure like inadequate water supply, absence of good wide roads, open spaces, parks for children to play and healthcare facilities.
Eidresy pointed that there are insufficient hospitals and clinics in his constituency. There is only one BMC-run Sion hospital which caters to his constituency and the entire south central Mumbai. There are no BMC Health Clinics to treat local people.
The lack of healthcare facilities is turning the youth to drugs and other anti-social activities. High unemployment and absence of any skill training centres in the region force the youngsters to leave studies for economic reasons, Eidresy said.