MIM threatens to dump Congress in Andhra Pradesh
The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Sunday threatened to withdraw support to the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, blaming it for the expansion of a temple abutting Charminar in violation of court orders.
MIM, a key ally of the ruling party, will take a final decision at its executive meeting Monday.
MIM supremo and MP Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters that the meet would also decide whether to continue support to Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.
MIM has seven members in 295-member state assembly and extends crucial support to the Congress, which has a razor thin majority in the house.
In December last year, the MIM opposed the no-confidence motion moved by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). It was defeated with 160 members opposing it and 122 supporting it.
After the merger of the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), the Congress has a simple majority of 153 in the house.
Political observers say the government may not face an immediate threat but the withdrawal of support by traditional ally MIM could be a political setback for the Congress in the run up to 2014 elections.
The Muslim political party, which has a strong mass base in Hyderabad, is likely to move closer to YSR Congress Party.
Owaisi, the only MP of the party, announced the party's decision to reconsider support after a canopy was erected over the temple structure abutting the 400-year-old Charminar monument.
All seven legislators of the party were arrested by police after they reached Charminar to stage a protest.
The MIM chief held Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy responsible for the 'cowardly' act to 'please' the "Sangh Parivar".
Taking a serious note of the incident, he said this violated last week's orders by the Andhra Pradesh High Court to maintain status quo.
"This has reminded Muslims of the demolition of Babri Masjid. This has proved that the Congress government is not secular," Owaisi said.
"The government is not heeding to us despite our repeated warnings against encouraging communal elements. It thinks we only talk and don't do anything," said Owaisi.
The Hyderabad MP said the police sealed off all the routes leading to Charminar early Sunday and ensured that a tarpaulin cover was put up over the structure.
Addressing a large number of MIM supporters at the party headquarters, he urged them to maintain peace and said his party believed in democracy and had done nothing to create law and order problems.