Lucknow: There are only 2 Muslim political parties in the entire country, Muslim League and All India Majlis Ittihadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Hyderabad. While the Muslim League is content to be confined to Kerala politics, the AIMIM is gearing up to increase its footprint across the country.
AIMIM had succeeded in winning seats in municipal, assembly and even Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. It also got its first success in Bihar Assembly election last year. But it draws a total blank in the recently held Assembly election in West Bengal.
There is a perception that Muslims, unlike Dalits, Sikhs and other groups, should not form their community-specific political party. If they do, then the Hindus would support any right-wing party en bloc which would then be detrimental to larger interests.
Owaisi has already announced that AIMIM will contest 100 of the total 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh as part of Bhagedari Sankalp Morcha (BSM) — an alliance led by former minister Om Prakash Rajbhar. This Morcha comprises nine various smaller parties. Elections are due to UP state Assembly in February 2022.
Asaduddin Owaisi the supremo of the AIMIM was trying to form alliances with the major political parties in UP like Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party. But no such alliance has been confirmed so far. With fear that such an alliance with AIMIM, would lead to communal polarization and Hindu voters could desert them.
There are many Muslims from Uttar Pradesh who feel that Owaisi should not contest the UP Assembly election as it would split their votes and benefit the BJP. They allege that AIMIM’s plan to contest election in UP is part of a secret understanding between the party and the BJP to split Muslim votes.
Maulana Jarjis Ansari, a prominent Muslim scholar, suggests that the BJP government’s kid gloves treatment of Owaisi is part of that secret understanding to polarize the voters on communal lines. “When the BJP government has put Azam Khan behind bars and closed his University why is the BJP Government being so lenient with Owaisi,” said Ansari.
There are others, however, among the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh who find nothing wrong in AIMIM entering UP election fray. “All major political parties only used Muslim’s votes and have not done anything for the community,” says Maulana Salman Nadwi, a famous Islamic scholar. He alleges that BSP used Nasimuddin and discarded him. Samajwadi Party stood on its feet because of Azam Khan – a tall Muslim leader in UP. But the SP seems to ignore him due to his current health situation. “There is nothing wrong if the UP Muslims vote for Owaisi’s Party,” said Maulana Nadwi.
“We want political share and independent Muslim leadership in UP,” Asaduddin Owaisi said while answering the media men’s questions outside the Parliament recently. “It is observed that whichever community candidates are elected for Assembly or Parliament that community progresses and since there is no independent Muslim leadership in UP, the candidates who win elections from UP become mute and voiceless in Assembly or Parliament. We want to bring out grassroot Muslim leadership in UP.”