Prof. M. H. Jawahirullah, one of the prominent Muslim politicians in the state and founder of the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), is contesting from Papanasam constituency in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu.
MMK, one of the two largest Muslim political parties in Tamilnadu, is currently in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
The two big Muslim political organisations in the state are the MMK and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
Jawahirullah and his Muslim political experiments
Jawahirullah, a PhD holder, an MBA graduate and a former faculty,
is also a founder of Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhakam (TMMK) which is Muslim NGO.
TMMK mainly consisted of disenchanted members from Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) broke away from the party allegedly for its lack of strong criticism against Hindutva. The organisation is also credited with welfare and humanitarian programmes in various fields. Hundreds of TMMK volunteers had jumped to rescue work in 2004 when Tsunami struck the coast in Tamil Nadu. It also played an important role in negotiations to secure reservations for Muslims in government jobs in the state.
TMMK was formed as a social organisation and later launched the political party MMK in 2009 contesting General Elections that year. MMK contested 3 seats and won two in 2011 state assembly elections in its electoral debut with AIADMK alliance. One was Jawahirullah from Ramanathapuram and the other win came from Ambur by Aslam Basha. In 2016 the party switched sides and contested from DMK alliance alliance and drew a blank in all five seats it contested.
This time MMK is contesting from Manapparai besides Papanasam.
MMK has a strong base among Muslim voters in northern and central Tamil Nadu.
Jawahirullah was also a former member and Tamil Nadu chief of Student Islamic movement of India (SIMI) till 1989. When asked about his participation in the banned out fit , his testament to government says though he was a SIMI member but left the group 1989 when turned 30 at the age of superannuation.
Papanasam, traditionally a Congress strong hold after independence baring one DMK win in 1971 was won by Doraikunnu of AIADMK for last three terms. Papanasam falls under Mayiladuthurai Loksabha constituency which DMK wrested from AIADMK in 2019 General Elections.
AIADMK has fielded Gopinathan from its fold in the constituency.
With Congress having a traditional base and three consecutive terms from AIADMK hopes are high for a tight fight. Doraikunnu who won thrice from Papanasam was died from coronavirus last year. Tamil Manila congress (TMC) which is a political party formed in 1996 and won twice from the assembly seat with DMK alliance is currently allied with ruling AIADMK . TMC is a break away faction from Congress party and have considerable influence in the region.
Papanasam has considerable number of sugarcane farmers and Doraikannu held the agricultural portfolio in last term. Voters are also concerned with number of trains stops in the railway station. Developmental issues like bridges and highway construction etc will also find space among election campaign.