Azam Khan, the most popular Muslim leader of Uttar Pradesh and the Muslim face of the Samajwadi Party, might jump ship to collaborate with AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi. The UP assembly elections are just a year away and the preparations for the election have already started. Samajwadi Party, being the primary opposition of the ruling BJP, expects to make a comeback in the 2022 assembly election and the Muslim voters are expected to play an important role in the party’s electoral strategy.
However, if the Samajwadi Party loses its most popular Muslim face before the election, it will be a huge setback for Akhilesh Yadav. As per a report by Navbharat Times, Asaduddin Owaisi has requested to meet Azam Khan, who is in jail on the charges of forgery.
Yet, the consent of Azam Khan is essential for the jail authorities to allow Owaisi to meet with him. If Khan gives his consent to meet Owaisi and jumps the ship later, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav would lose the election even before starting his campaign for it.
The Khan family doesn’t seem happy with Akhilesh Yadav because the latter made very little efforts for the release of Azam Khan in the last one year. In fact, Yadav hardly raised the issue after February, when Azam Khan surrendered and was sent to jail. Therefore, the chances of Khan leaving the Samajwadi Party to join Owaisi’s party are high.
Owaisi is getting ambitious with every passing day, and after the surprising performance of his party in Bihar, the sky’s the limit for him. Already, the AIMIM is gearing up to contest the West Bengal assembly polls scheduled in April-May this year – a nightmarishly disadvantageous development for TMC supremo and incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In the latest spree of political expansion, however, the AIMIM Chief is eyeing Uttar Pradesh in 2022, and this is bad news for the Samajwadi Party.
AIMIM’s incredible ability to piggyback on the Muslim voters of any constituency with a substantial ‘secular vote’ isn’t new. For Owaisi to be eyeing for Muslim-majority constituencies of Uttar Pradesh for the assembly polls next year is indeed, the effective death knell of Samajwadi Party’s electoral fortunes in the state. Already, the BJP’s unprecedented offensive in the state in 2017, and then in 2019 had forced the SP to languish in anonymity.
Asaduddin Owaisi was on his Eastern Uttar Pradesh tour recently and revealed that the previous Samajwadi Party government, led by Akhilesh Yadav, had stopped him 12 times from visiting the region.
“When the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government was in power in UP, I was stopped 12 times from visiting Purvanchal. I have come now. I have allied with SBSP chief Omprakash Rajbhar. I have come to nurture this friendship,” Owaisi told the media on Tuesday. By visiting Azamgarh – the parliamentary constituency of Akhilesh Yadav, Owaisi has sounded the poll bugle against the Samajwadi Party. And now with his request to meet Azam khan, Owaisi has given a clear hint that he is eying for SP’s vote bank.
The Samajwadi Party was first humiliatingly dislodged from power in 2017 and further battered during the 2019 general elections by the BJP. The socialist party was, of course, hoping to revive itself in the upcoming polls next year, but Owaisi seems to have decided to push the SP further down its electoral grave.
Naturally, with the AIMIM hogging a major chunk of the Muslim votes, which would have otherwise gone to Samajwadi Party, is a crisis like no other for Akhilesh Yadav. Like always, by substantially dividing the Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh, Owaisi is doing his part to ensure that BJP registers a gigantic win in the state.