As the race for West Bengal Assembly elections heats up, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is on a sticky wicket. As if Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) throwing its hat into the ring wasn’t enough, influential Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui is set to launch his party later this month and is inclined to fight on all 294 assembly seats on offer, thereby further increasing trouble for Mamata and her Trinamool Congress.
It seems that the troubles for TMC continue to mount as, after Owaisi ’s AIMIM, Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui has also decided to enter the fray. The duo is aggressively targeting the minority vote in West Bengal — a bedrock of Mamata’s TMC, without which it cannot return to power in the state.
Siddiqui who recently met Owaisi to discuss a pre-poll alliance after being miffed with the TMC announced his plans to launch his own party in West Bengal on January 21. While Siddiqui stated that his new party is ready to fight in 60-80 assembly seats, if the expected alliance with the AIMIM goes through, then the alliance will fight on all the 294 assembly seats on offer.
This spells trouble for the TMC, as the AIMIM-Siddiqui alliance would not only focus on seats where the minority vote would decide the next MLA but also on all other seats with the alliance chipping away with minority vote in every seat, it will act as a vote cutter and directly benefit the ever-growing BJP in West Bengal.
The 30% minority vote in West Bengal always had a major say in electing the state’s Chief Minister with Mamata’s two terms too heavily relied on wooing the minority electorate. However, this time around, not only is Mamata battling tremendous anti-incumbency due to her absolute bungling in the handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the utter lawlessness, the Owaisi-Siddiqui factor threatens to upset her applecart by snatching away the minority voter base.
Siddiqui’s decision to enter the electoral fray is much more important than Owaisi’s entry in West Bengal as the Furfura Sharif holds sway in at least 90 seats spread across the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, south 24 Paraganas, Howrah and Hoogly.
Owaisi is completely aware of the influence of Siddiqui and Furfura Sharif in West Bengal as the former has already stated that not only will he back Siddiqui, but will also fight polls together, keeping Siddiqui in the front.
“The AIMIM will stand behind Abbas Siddiqui. We will work with him and strengthen his cause. I have decided to leave all decisions to Siddiqui. I am confident that our performance will be comparable to what we achieved in Bihar. Only the minority vote is not our target. We want to fight for tribal people and other backward classes as well. If anyone can stop the BJP, it is Siddiqui,” said Owaisi after he met Siddiqui in the Hooghly district of West Bengal.
While the TMC was quick to play down the development as it tried to put up a brave face, West Bengal Law Minister & senior TMC leader Malay Ghatak rushed to Furfura Sharif shortly after Owasi’s visit to meet Toha Siddiqui, the leader of Furfura Sharif, which caught the TMC by surprise.
It is pertinent to note that Siddiqui, in recent months, has lambasted the TMC for not doing enough for the minority community and accused of using the community as a vote bank. Mamata’s troubles are now mounting and it seems that the winds are blowing towards a BJP rule in West Bengal.