Asaduddin Owaisi

Asaduddin Owaisi (born 13 May 1969) is an Indian politician, who is the President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. He is a four-time Member of Parliament (MP), representing the Hyderabad constituency in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. For years, he has been regularly listed one among the 500 Most Influential Muslims of the world.

Owaisi has been in controversies and news due to his politics primarily centered around minorities like Muslims and Dalits. His father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi and brother Akbaruddin Owaisi are also politicians.

 

 

Early life and background

Owaisi was born to Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi and Najmunnisa Begum on 13 May 1969. He comes from a political family of Hyderabad. His grandfather Abdul Wahed Owaisi relaunched the political party Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen as All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen 18 September 1957. He also succeeded Qasim Razvi as the party president after he was released from prison. His father Sultan Salahuddin was elected to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1962. Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi was elected to the Indian Parliament from the Hyderabad constituency for the first time in 1984 and continued winning the elections till 2004, when he stepped down in favour of Asaduddin. He died in 2008.

Asaduddin Owaisi completed his graduation in Bachelor of Arts from Nizam College (Osmania University) in Hyderabad. He represented the South Zone inter-university U-25s cricket team as fast bowler in the Vizzy Trophy in 1994 and later got selected in South Zone university team. He is a barrister by profession and studied at Lincoln’s Inn of London. His brother Akbaruddin Owaisi is a Member of Telangana Legislative Assembly and heads the party in it. His youngest brother Burhanuddin Owaisi is the editor of Etemaad.

Personal life

Owaisi married Farheen Owaisi on 11 December 1996. The couple has six children which includes one son, Sultanuddin Owaisi (born 2010) and five daughters- Khudsia Owaisi, Yasmeen Owaisi, Ameena Owaisi, Maheen Owaisi and Atika Owaisi. His mother is Nazima Begum. He lives in Shastripuram, Mailardevpally, Hyderabad. His eldest daughter Khudsia Owaisi was engaged to Barkat Alam Khan, grandson of Nawab Shah Alam Khan (paternal) and Moinuddin Khan Sandozai (maternal) on 24 March 2018. His second daughter, Yasmeen Owaisi was married to Abid Ali Khan, son of physician Mazhar Ali Khan, cousin of Zahid Ali Khan, editor of The Siasat Daily, in September 2020. He is hailed by his supporters as Naqeeb-e-Millat (Leader of the Community). He is fluent in Urdu / Hindi and English. He wears a long sherwani, an Islamic cap and sports a clipped beard.

Political career

Owaisi belongs to the Hyderabad-based All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, of which his father and grandfather have been presidents. The party, while opposed to jihadist terrorism, still practises a politics of “competitive chauvinism,” according to journalist Kingshuk Nag.

Owaisi made his political debut in 1994 in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly election. Contesting from the Charminar constituency which his party has been winning since 1967, he defeated his nearest rival a breakaway party Majlis Bachao Tehreek‘s candidate by a margin of 40 thousand votes. He succeeded Virasat Rasool Khan as the elected representative from the constituency. In the 1999 election, he defeated his nearest rival Telugu Desam Party candidate Syed Shah Noorul Haq Quadri by 93 thousand votes. Owaisi was polled 126 thousand votes in the election. In 2004 election, he was succeeded by Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri as the member of the Assembly from the constituency.

In 2004, Owaisi’s father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi who had been representing the Hyderabad constituency in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian parliament) refused to contest further citing poor health. The constituency has 70% Muslim population. He was polled 38% votes compared to his nearest rival Subhas Chanderji’s 28%.

In 2008, the Left Front (which consisted of Communist Parties) withdrew their support to the central government of India which was led by the United Progressive Alliance. This was done in response to Indo-US nuclear deal signed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush which allowed India to keep nuclear bombs but in return had to allow international inspection. The Communist parties felt that by this deal, India would become a pawn of the United States. Due to the Left Front withdrawing support, a vote of confidence was held in Indian Parliament. When Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that Muslims of India opposed the deal, Owaisi said that it was an attempt to give a communal angle to the deal. Owaisi announced his support for the United Progressive Alliance in the vote of confidence. He claimed that his top priority was to prevent the opposition right wing Bharatiya Janata Party to ascend to power and to prevent Lal Krishna Advani from becoming the country’s Prime Minister. He further stated:

We will express our reservations on the foreign policy impact but at no cost would we like to see the BJP coming in to power, at no cost we would like to see Mr Advani, who is an accused in Babri Masjid demolition case becoming the prime minister of this great nation, thereby destroying the future of Muslims and weakening the secularism.

In the 2009 Indian general electionZahid Ali Khan, the editor-in-chief of an Urdu daily The Siasat Daily was pitted against Owaisi. He was supported by rival Telegu Desam PartyTelangana Rashtra SamithiCommunist Party of IndiaCommunist Party of India (Marxist).  Hindustan Times wrote that the AIMIM party faced “tough challenge” in the Hyderabad constituency. However, Owaisi emerged victorius and defeated Ali Khan by a margin by 110 thousand votes. He increased the winning margin by 10 thousand votes as compared to 2004 election.

Owaisi was awarded the 2014 Sansad Ratna award (Gem of parliamentarians) October 2013 for his performance in the 15th session of Indian parliament. During this period, he asked 1080 questions in the Parliament compared to the national average of 292. His attendance at 70% was 6% short of the national average.
The Milli Gazette wrote that he “has gained wide respect nationally among Indian Muslims for his bold speeches in Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian parliament)”. He took up issues in the Parliament which pertained to the interests of the minority community. Also when he raised the issue of waqf properties in the parliament, the then Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh confessed that it was a fault of his ministry in not recognising waqf as a serious matter.

In April 2014, Owaisi filed his nomination for the Hyderabad constituency in the 2014 general election. He declared movable assets worth 2.7 million rupees (around $42,000) and immovable assets worth 30 million rupees (around $463,000). He was elected from the constituency once again by defeating his nearest rival Bharatiya Janata Party‘s Bhagvanth Rao by a margin of 197 thousand votes.

Owaisi announced that his party AIMIM would contest the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election from mainly from the Muslim dominated area of Seemanchal region of the state. News18 India wrote that the party candidates would divide votes and the voters suspected him of being an agent of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. He said that he was realistic about their chances of winning. He claimed that the Seemanchal region was underdeveloped and he blamed Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish KumarIndian National Congress party and Bharatiya Janata Party for it. He said that his aim was to pressurise the government to create a regional developmental council for the region. Although the party contested from six constituencies of Seemanchal region, it failed to win any seat.

Owaisi, who filed his nomination for Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency for 4th time declared assets worth over Rs 13 crore but he owns no vehicle.

 

Position held

Year Description
1994-1999 Elected to 10th Andhra Pradesh Assembly
1999-2003 Elected to 11th Andhra Pradesh Assembly (2nd term)
2004-2009 Elected to 14th Lok Sabha
2004-2006 ·         Member, Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

·         Member, Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment

2006-2007 ·         Member, Standing Committee on Defence
2009-2014 Elected to 15th Lok Sabha (2nd term)

·         Leader, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Parliamentary Party

2009-2014 ·         Member, Committee on Defence

·         Member, Committee on Ethics

2014-2019 Elected to 16th Lok Sabha (3rd term)

·         Leader, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Parliamentary Party

·         Member, Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment

·         Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Minority Affairs

2019 Elected to 17th Lok Sabha (4th term)

·         Leader, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Parliamentary Party

Other work

Owaisi is the Chairman of Hyderabad-based Owaisi Hospital and Research Centre whose origin dates back to late Alhaj Moulana Abdul Wahed Owaisi. The hospital functions in the field of Medical Education, Research and Medical care. Research programs at the hospitals are being carried out in collaboration with National and International research Agencies.