The decision of All India Majlis-e-ittehadul Muslimeen (AlMIM) to fight on thirty-two assembly seats in Bihar is severely scrutinised by Muslim community while questions are also being raised over the actual motive behind this move.
Several community leaders wonder why AIMIM is focusing on such constituencies which were dominated by opposition in last election. All the two third of these 32 constituencies held by opposition Grand Alliance have Muslim MLAs. Therefore, AIMIM’s move would divide the secular votes and spoil the prospect of GA, they say.
Prominent social activist Naiyer Fatmi speaking to TheNewsweb said, “AIMIM has no support base in the state; it is one man show. Its state president, Akhtarul Iman, has limited hold in few parts of Kishanganj. Besides, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi is a highly polarising figure whose election rallies trigger cascading affects and polarise votes in many adjoining constituencies; a phenomenon which helps BJP.”
It is to be recalled that in 2015 assembly elections, the allegations of being ‘BJP agent’ had hampered whatever prospect AIMIM had. Interestingly, then the AIMIM had announced to put up candidates on two dozen seats. However, reportedly the party could not arrange this much candidates.
Nonetheless, last year the Hyderabad based outfit got success in opening the account when its candidate Qamrul Hoda won the Kishanganj by-poll. Yet, the political watchers are of the view that Hoda won due to weak congress candidate.
Afzal Hussain, Secretary, Bihar Rabita Committee expressing his displeasure over the move said, “I couldn’t understand why AIMIM jumps into the election fray where BJP has strong presence. He alleged that AIMIM, by dividing secular votes, has helped BJP in Maharashtra and it is poised to do so in upcoming assembly elections of Bihar and West Bengal. Communal politics irrespective of any religion is not good for a democratic country like India.”
The problem for AIMIM, specially in politically conscious states like Bihar, is that it always finds itself struggling for Muslim votes especially in constituencies where the community is in minority. The party’s major grievance that secular outfits ignore Muslim issues is cutting no ice in the community; perhaps due to the fact that over the years, Rashtriya Janta Dal in alliance with congress has won their confidence.
Many Muslim leaders criticise AIMIM for jumping into the election without putting considerable efforts on building its organisational strength. “Elections are fought on the basis of social base and organisational strengths. If AIMIM is serious in Bihar politics, why it is not building up organisation in even those area where it is functioning for quite some time. Just showing up at election time and giving tickets to every Tom, Dick and Harry will not accomplish the so called objective of Muslim representation,” said Ahmad Imam, an active leader.
Commenting on similar line, Faiyaz Iqbal, a young media consultant, said, “AIMIM would spoil precious votes of the community as it doesn’t have social equation in its favour. It appears that party will offer its tickets to such aspirants who would be ignored by both, the NDA and GA. Unless AIMIM shows commitment towards genuinely building the party, the allegation of helping the BJP would be justified.”
(The writer, a political analyst, is associated with Bihar Times. Views are personal)