Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India-Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen has received a rude shock in West Bengal after the newly created outfit, Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Front has finalised its ties with the Congress-Left Front combine in the state.
Abbas Siddiqui is a prominent spiritual leader of Furfurashareef in Hooghly district, whom Asaduddin Owaisi met on January 3 to pave the entry of AIMIM in the state’s electoral politics.
According to reports the Hyderabad MP had even offered Siddiqui the ticket to contest as AIMIM candidate.
The media quickly started analysing the likely impact of AIMIM’s move as only in November last Assembly election in Bihar the party had won five seats.
However, Owaisi got the first shock when on January 21 Siddiqui floated the Indian Secular Front.
The Furfurashareef cleric agreed to the Left Front and Congress demand to dissociate his newly created party from the AIMIM. As the latter has agreed to this condition it is now clear that the ISF is going to throw its weight behind these two parties.
State Congress chief Adheer Ranjan Chaudhary and CPM leader Mohammad Saleem have either met Siddiqui or are in touch with him. The AIMIM sources of West Bengal also confirmed to the media that the talks with Siddiqui had failed.
As, unlike in Bihar, the AIMIM has hardly any organisational structure in West Bengal and no leader like Akhtar-ul-Iman to lead, the story of the Hyderabad-based party in the poll-bound state is almost over. That is why the AIMIM has faced desertion recently.
Independent analysts are of the view that Siddiqui has no doubt influence among a section of people, mostly Muslims, but politically he lacks experience. In Bihar, apart from Akhtar-ul-Iman, the other four MLAs of AIMIM too have some political clout of their own in Seemanchal belt from where they had got elected. They had in the past either been in the RJD or Congress.
Bengal has close to 30 per cent Muslim population. The ruling Trinamool Congress is hopeful of attracting an overwhelming percentage of their votes. But in the pockets of districts like Malda and Murshidabad the Congress managed to do well in the last Lok Sabha elections too. It had won two seats in the 2019 parliamentary poll.
If Abbas Siddiqui really makes some dent into Mamata’s vote-bank it would spell trouble for the TMC.
Muslim votes can make and mar the prospect of any party in at least 90 out of 294 seats in the state Assembly.
The TMC insiders have taken a sigh of relief after the likely exit of AIMIM from West Bengal electoral politics as Owaisi has, through his speeches, the capability to cause counter-polarisation and thus directly help the BJP. That is why it is often dubbed as the B-team of the BJP.