Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is getting ambitious with every passing day, and subsequent to the surprising poll performance of his party in Bihar, the sky is the limit for Owaisi. Already, the AIMIM is gearing up to contest the West Bengal assembly polls scheduled for 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 very bad news for the Samajwadi Party.
The AIMIM’s incredible ability to piggyback on the Muslims voters of any constituency with a substantial ‘secular vote’ is not particularly unknown. For Owaisi to be eyeing Muslim-majority constituencies of Uttar Pradesh for the assembly polls next year indeed is 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 an Eastern Uttar Pradesh tour recently and on Tuesday, the AIMIM chief revealed that the previous Samajwadi Party government, led by Akhilesh Yadav, had stopped him 12 times from visiting the region. Meanwhile, Owaisi was accompanied by Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar. Together, the SBSP and AIMIM have entered into an alliance comprising of other smaller parties as well – called the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha.
“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 media persons on Tuesday. By visiting Azamgarh – the parliamentary constituency of Akhilesh Yadav, Owaisi has no less than sounded the battle bugle against the SP.
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 resuscitate itself in the upcoming polls next year, but Asaduddin Owaisi seems to have decided to push the SP further down its electoral grave.
Naturally, the AIMIM hogging a major chunk of the Muslim votes which would have otherwise gone SP’s way is a crisis like no other for Akhilesh Yadav. Like always, by substantially dividing the Muslim vote in Uttar Pradesh, Owaisi is doing his part to ensure that the BJP registers a gigantic win in the state.
Owaisi is smartly increasing his political fold and is working to shed the AIMIM’s Hyderabad-centric image. Instead, the man is looking to win Muslim-majority constituencies in multiple states by cutting non-BJP votes. Already, the saffron party in the previous state elections was able to reduce Samajwadi Party to a meagre 54 seats in the UP assembly, down by a massive 198 seats from 2012.
Now, with Owaisi jumping into the fray hoping to cut as many Muslim votes as possible, Akhilesh Yadav definitely must be rethinking his continuance in electoral politics. However, if he does fight the battle next year, the Samajwadi Party stares at the prospect of being reduced to single digits in the state assembly, since Akhilesh Yadav can, rest assured, not take on the BJP and AIMIM simultaneously.