After being spurned by all the mainstream political parties–even the smallest ones–the Hyderabad-based AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen) on Saturday disclosed its plan to contest the coming Assembly election in Bihar in alliance with a little-known outfit, Samajwadi Janata Dal.
Addressing the joint Press conference in Patna AIMIM and SJD chiefs, Asaduddin Owaisi and Devendra Prasad Yadav, hoped some more parties would soon join them. They said that there is scope for tri-polar and clean politics both in India and Bihar. They claimed that a 19-party United Democratic Alliance has been formed in Bihar, though at present only the AIMIM and SJD have joined hands. Details of seat adjustment would be finalised later.
Devendra Prasad Yadav, who was formerly in Janata Dal, had served as a Union minister for a brief period in mid-1990s. He has represented Jhanjharpur in Lok Sabha. The announcement of alliance by Owaisi exposed the weakness of the AIMIM. Notwithstanding enormous efforts no mainstream parties of even Dalits and backwards deemed it fit to join forces with it. The AIMIM reportedly tried to woo Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, which has some influence in Kosi belt. But no such alliance could materialise.
Even the Lok Janshakti Party, considered as the biggest party of the Dalits and led by Chirag Paswan, son of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, reportedly refused to be a part of Owaisi’s alliance. It has always been observed that Owaisi starts the election campaign with a bang but ends up in whimper. He gets undue media attention. In December last he pulled big crowds in Jharkhand but his party could not open its account.
However, it did succeed to mar the prospect of some of the candidates of secular parties. The same is feared in Bihar this time. In 2015 Assembly election in Bihar the AIMIM chief initially announced that his party would contest on 24 seats, but ended up putting up candidates only in six. The party, however, managed to open its account in Kishanganj by-election last October when its candidate Qamar ul Hoda defeated the Congress nominee, the mother of the present party MP, Mohammad Jawaid.
Though it is difficult to predict how much damage the AIMIM would inflict on the Grand Alliance this time, the manner in which all the mainstream parties chose to reject it has certainly dampened the spirit of its supporters, especially some young Muslims. Rightly or wrongly, the message has gone deep down among the Muslims that Owaisi works as a B-team of the BJP. His total absence from the anti-CAA-cum-NRC movement and the Delhi riots came under big criticism.