Launched by the Jamat at the national level some time back, the Welfare Party has its presence in six states, reports Mohammed Siddique.
The Jamat-e-Islami Hind, reputed to be the most well-organised socio religious organisations of Muslims in the country, is all geared up to launch its political party -- Welfare Party of India -- in Andhra Pradesh.
In the run-up to its formal launch with a massive show of strength in November, the party opened its state office in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills area on Wednesday.
S M Mallick, the renowned Telugu journalist and author, who is the first head of the state unit of the party, said that the membership drive over the last two months evoked a good response from all sections and that the party's organisational structure was in place in all the districts of the state. "We have opened our offices in 14 districts and the units have elected their own presidents," he said.
Though the party will have dominant presence of the leaders of Jamat as well as its other front organisations like the Movement for Peace and Justice, it has also trying to woo people from other communities. The state executive of the party already has a tribal and a Christian and it was trying to induct prominent persons from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, Mallick said.
"Our main motto is cleansing the polity and the society as a whole of corruption as it was eating away the vitals of our country," he said.
Launched by the Jamat at the national level some time back, the Welfare Party has its presence in six states of the country including Kerala where it was actively organising programs to take up public issues.
Mallick said that contesting the 2014 general elections was not on the agenda of the party as it would like to focus on building the structure from the grass roots level first. "We will be open to the idea of contesting the local body elections in the state first," he said.
Mallick is among the top leaders of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind and a member of its powerful Majlis-e-Shoora, or the national consultative committee.
However, unlike other states, where Muslims do not have any major political party, in Andhra Pradesh, especially in Hyderabad, the Welfare Party was likely to face a tough challenge from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
The AIMIM has a strong hold over Hyderabad where it has been winning the Lok Sabha seat since 1984 without a break. The party also has seven members in the state assembly all elected from the Muslim dominated old city. However, MIM's presence in the other districts of the state was nominal. Its attempts to foray into the neighboring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka have also not borne much fruit.
Though the MIM is yet to publicly comment on the Welfare Party of India, its leaders were cautiously and carefully watching Jamat's moves. The relations of Jamat and MIM have seen many ups and downs in the past but they were likely to turn more confrontationists if the Welfare Party tries to enter into MIM strongholds.
Jamat's foray into politics is also likely to face resistance from some other sects of the community, specially the Barelvis, who look at the Jamat as a Wahabi sect, advocating puritanical forms of Islam.