The Bihar election results came as a surprise to many poll pundits across the country as NDA, spearheaded by BJP, once again stormed back to power, despite the odds stacked against it. However, the biggest surprise the assembly polls sprung up was the emergence of Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which won 5 seats across the state and showed that it was no green-horn when it came to fighting elections. While AIMIM’s victory was begrudged mercilessly by Congress and other ‘secular’ parties—with many dubbing the Hyderabad born party as BJP’s self-attested B-party, Owaisi took this backlash as an opportunity to make his intentions clear of fighting the upcoming West Bengal and in future, the UP assembly elections.
“You mean we should not fight elections. You (Congress) went and sat in Shiv Sena’s lap (in Maharashtra). If anyone asks why did you fight the elections? I will fight in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and will fight every election in the country,” he said whilst further adding“AIMIM will fight in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Time only will tell with whom we will ally,”
The Muslims who usually voted for Congress in the absence of sectarian parties catering especially to the cause of Islam and Muslims were given a welcome opportunity to have a crack at a different party and in this case, it was AIMIM who reaped the benefits of it. Owaisi’s AIMIM has no hesitation in projecting itself, solely as a Muslim party, and the voters polled their votes owing to his ingenuity.
Muslim voters of the state gave up on Congress and other parties who precisely knocked at their doors, just to use them as their vote bank. The dirty appeasement politics by Congress forced the Muslims of the crucial belt to look for alternatives.
Just the way, an overexcited AAP in 2013, after winning Delhi had embarked upon a countrywide tour to win the LS seats contested on 400 seats, AIMIM is planning on the same level. However, there is a clear, coordinated communication between regional Muslim parties like AIMIM in Hyderabad, Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala, AIUDF in Assam, and several small Muslim parties scattered across the country to create a polarised election landscape where their leaders can hide behind the garb of ‘Secularism’ with Owaisi being the high-profile face.
These communal parties want to create a Muslim League-Esque front which was disbanded after the Independence of the country to create a pan-India Muslim front that can directly fight against the mainstream parties.
Even if we take Owaisi’s intent of proclaiming himself and his party as secular, the backend dealings between such parties suggest otherwise. And if the public gets a sniff that AIMIM is building an exclusively Muslim front then BJP would not waste a heartbeat in dubbing the entire rendezvous as a pro-Pakistan manoeuvre.
Owaisi has time and again said that the grand old party i.e. Congress has failed to portray itself as an adequate opposition and simultaneously failed to provide the voters with a viable alternative and therefore to counter the tidal Modi wave that has been swirling across the country since 2014, Owaisi is playing the long game by colluding with Muslim parties and strengthening their turfs.
The left-liberal cabal has started with its narrative that Owaisi is the next best alternative after Congress and in hushed tones, the lengthy editorials are being churned out to create an atmosphere where Owaisi is projected more than what his achievements have been so far.
And if Owaisiis indeed coming to contest in Bengal, as he did in Seemanchal, a four-cornered fight between TMC, BJP, Congress-Left, and AIMIM will be an intriguing poll contest to observe.
And once again, it would be BJP that will have the benefit of such fragmentation of vote. Bengal’s 27 per cent Muslim vote has been the deciding factor on who wrests power in the state. Current Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee relies heavily on this particular vote bank for her survival and if this fortress is breached then no doubt, BJP would be unfurling its saffron flag in the state. Last year’s Lok Sabha election result in Raiganj (North Dinajpur) being a case in hand.
From the Kishangaj Bypoll of last year to assembly elections of 2020, Owaisi has indeed travelled some distance and if Congress and other parties do not get their act right and continue being naïve to the threat of AIMIM and other Muslim parties—forget decimating BJP, the grand old party’s very existence will be in jeopardy.