UP polls: Alliance or not, AIMIM may contest in about 50 seats

With Rajbhar now saying that no talks were held with the AIMIM on seat-sharing and an alliance with the Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also unlikely, Owaisi will have to rethink his plan for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Hyderabad: After Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar’s snub, All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM,) like in West Bengal, may once again have to contest the upcoming Uttar Pradesh (UP) state elections on its own. However, the Hyderabad-based party might put up candidates in about 50 seats, if not 100, in the polls.

Analysts believe that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in UP is wooing back people like Rajbhar, who left the saffron party’s NDA bloc, to ensure its victory in the coming state polls. In the 2017 UP elections, the AIMIM contested 38 seats, but could not win a single seat and managed to secure only a 0.2 percent of the vote share.

Earlier, All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s UP president Shaukath Ali said his party is working hard to contest in at least 100 seats, but also added that the final call will be taken by AIMIM national president Asaduddin Owaisi. With Rajbhar now saying that no talks were held with the AIMIM on seat-sharing and an alliance with the Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also unlikely, Owaisi will have to rethink his plan for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

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AMIM, which won five seats in the Bihar state elections last year, could not put up a decent performance in the West Bengal state elections that were held earlier this year. There too it received a jolt after the Furfura Sharif Dargah’s Abbas Siddiqui, who floated the Indian Secular Front, finally decided to go with the Communist Party of India – Marxist or CPM. Owaisi’s party finally contested only seven seats out of the total 294.

“The BJP is now afraid of losing the election. Even though it won around 300 out of the 400 plus seats last time in UP, it was because it had smaller parties with it as part of its alliance. On its own the BJP got just more than 30% of the vote share. Without the support of these smaller parties it will be difficult,” said an AIMIM leader, who did not want to be quoted. He added that his party is likely contest around 50 seats, but that it is not confirmed yet.

The upcoming UP elections, which will be held next year, is likely to be a polarised one, given that the ruling BJP always brings up issues like ‘Love Jihad’, and alleged conversions to Islam, both of which are unfounded. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave hit Uttar Pradesh hard, and the citizens faced several issues, resulting in thousands losing their lives. It is yet to be seen how thatand the AIMIM impact the polls.

When it comes to AIMIM, many see Asaduddin Owaisi’s Hyderabad-based outfit as a spoiler, or as an organisation that will allegedly benefit the BJP by splitting or weening away Muslim votes. Presently, the AIMIM has MLAs in Bihar and Maharashtra, apart from having corporators and other elected representatives in local bodies from Gujarat and UP as well.

AIMIM also managed to win two seats in the 2019 Maharashtra state polls, where it contested in 44 constituencies. While it did not manage to retain the two seats it won in 2014, the party however bagged two new constituencies – Malegaon and Dhule City, while getting about 7.4 lakh votes. It was an increase from the 5 lakh votes in the 2014 polls, when it contested 24 seats. The AIMIM also represents the Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat.

However, its election forays have not always been successful. In 2019, the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) failed to win any of the eight seats it had contested in the Jharkhand state elections. The result or situation for the party was similar with the West Bengal state elections as well. In Telangana, the AIMIM has seven MLAs, all in Hyderabad, and one Lok Sabha seat which is represented by Owaisi (Hyderabad seat).

“Whatever polarisation is possible for Owaisi to do, he will do it. He is trying to create an aura around the AIMIM; that his party can contest 100 seats along with other outfits that represent backward sections. That perception may legitimacy that the AIMIM is a secular party. Will it be successful? I doubt it. In a polarised elections, votes generally get split between two sides,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

Reddy added that even if the AIMIM;s What is going to happen is that the MIM will take miniscule votes in each seat which will effect the outcome. When the margin of victory is small, splitting of votes in any way

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