AP: Mayor's seat creates rift between Cong, MIM

Hyderabad: Fight for the Greater Hyderabad city Mayor post is threatening to mar the friendship between ruling Congress and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.

The Congress is apparently not ready to vacate the Mayor seat at the end of the first two-year term on December 4 as per the agreement reached between the two parties after the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in 2009.

The MIM would then take its turn and nominate its candidate as Mayor for the next two years. And, the Congress would get the seat back in the final year of the five-year term as both the parties do not have requisite strength of their own in the 150-member civic body to stay in power.

However, the Congress is reluctant to honour the agreement and is seeking to stick on to the Mayor seat for one more year, much to the chagrin of the MIM.

"The MIM has asked us to vacate the Greater Hyderabad Mayor seat as per our agreement. But we told them that the party wants to continue in office for one more year," Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana said.

He, however, assured MIM leader in the Assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi that the Congress' decision would be conveyed after a discussion with the Chief Minister and other leaders.

Following the PCC president’s claim, Akbaruddin rushed to the Chief Minister along with three of his party MLAs and an MLC on Saturday and reportedly made it clear that the Congress would have to honour the agreement to sustain the friendly relations between the parties.

The CM, who enjoys a good rapport with the MIM deputy chief, is said to have assured him that "there should not be any problem" on the seat-sharing.

Now, the Congress is in such a dicey position that it cannot afford to antagonise a key ally like MIM, given the numbers game in the Assembly.

The Congress is unsure of its own strength in the Assembly and it has to bank on the support of the seven-member MIM as the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party is getting ready to table a no-confidence motion against the government.

If the Mayor's post is not vacated as promised, the MIM may deny support to the Congress government, thereby pushing it into jeopardy in case of a trial of strength.

Also, it could lead to withdrawal of MIM's support in the GHMC Council leading to the fall of the Congress in the civic body as well.

Given the situation, the Congress will be forced to honour its agreement with the MIM to save its power. It is learnt that the Chief Minister gave an assurance to the effect to the MIM delegation and said an official announcement in this regard would be made "very soon".