The election season is upon Bihar and new permutations and combinations have started to emerge in the wake of it. Entering the political turf of Bihar is now All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by its Hyderabad MP, Asaduddin Owaisi. AIMIM has announced that it will contest 32 seats in the upcoming assembly election in Bihar.
The party will put up candidates across 22 districts of the state and not only this, the party has hinted that it would not shy away from stitching alliances in the state if it finds ‘like-minded parties’. A cursory glance at the proceedings might give the impression that AIMIM is after the NDA vote bank but as it turns out RJD and Congress are the ones sweating hard over these fresh developments.
बिहार में चुनाव लड़ने की पहली लिस्ट जारी, 22 जिले की 32 सीटों पर चुनाव लड़ेगी AIMIM। pic.twitter.com/Np22cU2EdX
— AIMIM (@aimim_national) June 10, 2020
In the Kishanganj bypoll last year, Congress had a taste of its own medicine. An opposition party as a challenger which plays the same dirty appeasement politics as Congress does, made the life hard for the grand old party. The seat was considered a Congress bastion but AIMIM breached it handsomely. Saeeda Bano, who was fielded as its candidate came third on the seat and lost her deposit. The winning of Kamrul Huda from the seat changed the political game of Kishanganj which is a Muslim dominated area.
With Owaisi’s party AIMIM coming in the big picture of Bihar and making the contest triangular, BJP is set to gain the most. The electoral equations of RJD and Congress will get clouded who have only played caste politics and Muslim appeasement politics to consolidate its vote bank over the years. It is difficult to unlearn things than learn them and both the parties have their task cut out here.
AIMIM has been trying to get a foothold in the state of Bihar for over 10 years and it looks like it has started to make some inroads. AIMIM coming in the fold is undoubtedly going to make Lalu Yadav’s successor Tejaswi Yadav and Congress queasy. The districts AIMIM has fielded its candidates in are mostly Muslim dominated areas. Katihar district has three assembly seats Balrampur, Bari, and Kadva which are Muslim dominated. Purnia has two Muslim dominated seats in Amaur and Baisi whereas Jokihat in Araria, Keoti in Darbhanga are the other two seats.
Owaisi’s AIMIM had a similar modus-operandi in the Maharashtra assembly elections in 2014 where it contested on 25 seats and made a significant dent in the Congress vote bank. To top it all, AIMIM even won 2 seats in the state.
Caste plays a pivotal role in the politics of Bihar. Barring a few castes, Hindus have moved towards the NDA and BJP in particular, but the arrival of Owaisi translates into doom for Congress and RJD whose traditional vote bank in the Seemanchal region will be under threat. It is well and truly possible that if AIMIM somehow musters even 3-4 seats in the region, it could have a decisive say in who forms the government in the state, amidst a triangular competition.
The Hindi heartland of Bihar is set to see some vicious fighting in the coming months as the political landscape gets more and more charged. AIMIM and controversy are interchangeably used terms and therefore one should not be surprised that communal and hate speeches rain from the party which is spearheaded by none other than the Owaisi brothers who have a knack to fan communal discord.
The outcome of Bihar elections might be difficult to predict at the moment but one thing is ascertained and that is BJP is set to gain the most from AIMIM jumping in the fray.