AIMIM to announce decision to contest Bengal polls soon

AIMIM spokesperson Asim Waqar, the party's Bengal coordinator, told ET that the organisation has received feedback from many districts of Bengal and was waiting for some final talks with party chief Asaduddin Owaisi to make the announcement.

PTI
AIMIM leader Abdul Kalam said the ripe moment for the party in West Bengal was in 2019 but it had missed the opportunity.
New Delhi: Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ulMuslimeen is likely to announce its intention to contest the West Bengal assembly polls due in the first half of 2021, after winning five seats in Bihar and playing spoiler in some seats. AIMIM spokesperson Asim Waqar, the party's Bengal coordinator, told ET that the organisation has received feedback from many districts of Bengal and was waiting for some final talks with party chief Asaduddin Owaisi to make the announcement.

“We will let Mamata decide if she wants to fight us or fight with us. In 2019, she asked us to support her to stop the BJP but she couldn't. Later, she put at least 27 of our members in jail because they took part in anti-CAA protests,” Waqar alleged. “The condition of Muslims in Bengal, as pointed by Sachar Committee report, is the worst. There is not a single university in Murshidabad. The state government is sitting on crores of worth waqf properties. We are here to talk about rights of Muslims because they have been treated like slaves by political parties.” He said AIMIM was strong in Kolkata, Diamond Harbour and 24 Parganas, apart from areas that border Bihar.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had at an antiNRC rally in north Bengal last year said Muslims should be wary of ‘minority extremists’ from Hyderabad, in an apparent reference to Owaisi. Muslims account for nearly 30% in West Bengal.


AIMIM leader Abdul Kalam said the ripe moment for the party in West Bengal was in 2019 but it had missed the opportunity. “Muslim dominated places such as Murshidabad already have many Muslim parties working there. So it will be difficult for AIMIM. But in places such as Malda, where the influence of party Bihar chief Akhtarul Iman works, it will make an impact. The party, however, has to get its organisation in shape. 90% Muslims still feel they benefit in some way now. In Bengal, Muslims will support parties only after they deliver on promises,” he said.

According to Kinghsuk Chatterjee of Calcutta University, it won't be easy for AIMIM to make a dent in Bengal as in Bihar as “large sections of Muslims in the state vote” strategically to defeat the BJP. With the BJP gaining traction in among many sections that want to defeat Trinamool, it will also focus on consolidating the Muslim vote, he said. “The community would prefer to be cynically used by Trinamool than be hung out to dry by the BJP. Owaisi basically tries to capitalise on the feeling of marginalisation. His point is that mainstream parties have always tried to temporise issues related to Muslims, such as the CAA. He is right in spotting the opportunity. The more Hindu polarisation happens, the more marginalised Muslims would feel,” he said.

Chatterjee, however, said that polarisation was more effective in areas where Muslims and Hindus were almost on a par. But in places such as Malda and Murshidabad, which are predominantly Bengali Muslims, the chances of a party seen as that of Urdu-speaking Muslims, are less. “However, there are areas in South Bengal where the party has a chance to cut into the space of other political parties.”
ADVERTISEMENT

Bihar’s Seemanchal, where AIMIM won five seats shares its border with north Bengal which has a significant Muslim population. Muslims make a majority in the Malda division of North Bengal that comprises districts of Malda, Murshidabad and North and South Dinajpur.
Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+