With Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM saying that it might contest Bengal polls, having bagged 5 seats in neighbouring Bihar, political arithmetic, in all chance, is about to witness a significant change as TMC’s sway over minority votes appears to be up for a stiff problem.
The Mamata Banerjee-led social gathering, which had been the only beneficiary of minority votes because the defeat of the Left Entrance in 2011, nevertheless, tried to place up a courageous face, arguing that Owaisi’s affect on Muslims is restricted to Hindi and Urdu-speaking communities that make for simply six per cent of Muslim citizens within the state.
Muslims comprise 30 per cent of West Bengal’s voters. The state has the very best variety of Muslim citizens within the nation after Kashmir.
A deciding consider almost 100-110 seats within the 294-member Meeting, minorities particularly the Muslims, until 2019, have acted as a bulwark of the TMC towards its rivals, with most of them voting in favour of the social gathering, contemplating it to be a “credible” pressure that may resist saffron surge.
AIMIM’s entry to alter equations
With the entry of the AIMIM, equations are prone to change, distinguished Muslim leaders mentioned. Buoyed by the outcomes of Bihar polls, Owaisi had introduced that the AIMIM would contest elections in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and different states.
Speaking in regards to the Telangana-based social gathering’s detailed plan for Mission West Bengal, its nationwide spokesperson Asim Waqar informed PTI on Wednesday that the outfit has already arrange items in 22 out of the 23 districts of the state.
“We’ll struggle meeting polls in Bengal. We’re making ready our technique. We’ve got registered our presence in 22 out of the 23 districts of the state. We predict, as a political social gathering, we are able to make deep inroads into the state,” Waqar mentioned.
The AIMIM’s plan to enter Bengal was frowned upon by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at an anti-NRC rally in north Bengal in November final 12 months, when she, with out taking a reputation, launched a frontal assault on the social gathering by asking Muslims to be cautious of “minority extremists” from Hyderabad.
Bengal ‘fertile’ floor for Owaisi’s growth plans
Owaisi — who’s quick rising because the main Muslim voice within the nation — was fast to hit again, stating that West Bengals minorities have one of many worst human growth indicators.
In accordance with the AIMIM, Owaisi has discovered Bengal to be a fertile floor for his growth plans. The social gathering has constructed a “good assist base” in minority-dominated districts of Malda, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas. All 5 districts comprise greater than sixty meeting seats. By the way, barring South 24 Parganas, the remaining 4 districts border Bihar, the place the social gathering received 5 seats, consuming into the Muslim vote share of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan.
In accordance with AIMIM state management, the social gathering first evinced curiosity in Bengal after the 2019 parliamentary polls. A rally was duly organised in Kolkata, which witnessed an enormous attendance of Muslim youths.
“We sensed that Muslims are in search of an alternate and determined to construct our base within the state. After we visited the districts, we obtained a beneficial response. Now now we have a robust base in a number of locations,” a state AIMIM chief mentioned.
In accordance with AIMIM sources, the confrontation between Banerjee and Owaisi supplied the social gathering a much-needed propellant to make a foray into the state’s political scene. That adopted by violent agitation over Citizenship Modification Act gave the social gathering an ideal alternative to increase its footprint within the state.
“Additionally, the latest migrant labour disaster has helped us, as a big part of Muslims realised who’s its true good friend,” the AIMIM chief mentioned.
Mamata Banerjee shedding plot?
Mohammed Kamruzzaman, the overall secretary of All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, informed PTI that Muslims who had voted for the TMC should not pleased with the way in which the social gathering has fared on many fronts. A number of developments similar to TMC leaders becoming a member of the BJP have propped up “questions in regards to the credibility of the the Mamata Banerjee social gathering in its struggle towards the BJP”.
“The Muslims, for the final ten years, have voted for the TMC, and so they have hopes and aspirations from the social gathering. Though a few of them have been fulfilled, there are a many grievances, too. A piece of Muslims feels that the leaders they’ve voted for are both becoming a member of arms with the BJP or leaping the ship. So they’re cautious,” Kamruzzaman mentioned.
He refuted claims that Owaisi’s affect is restricted to only Hindi- and Urdu-speaking voters. “Owaisi is held in excessive regard amongst Bengali Muslims too. And his anti-BJP credentials are impeccable. He has by no means compromised with the BJP,” Kamruzzaman, who throughout 2019 had appealed to the Muslim neighborhood to vote for the TMC, mentioned.
The Imams of the town, who additionally exert a significant affect on the Muslim inhabitants within the state, nevertheless, has maintained a stoic silence over the matter up to now.
AIMIM might play a spoiler
The TMC, which is but to totally get well from the 2019 Lok Sabha ballot setback, when the BJP’s tally soared from two to 18, is apprehensive that the AIMIM might act as “spoiler” in a number of meeting segments.
“In minority-dominated pockets, the place we’re nonetheless the most-preferred social gathering, the AIMIM might not win the seats however will hamper our prospects. Though West Bengal has 24 per cent Bengali-speaking Muslims and 6 per cent Hindi-speaking Muslims, we have to be sure that whole minority vote share stays intact, because the BJP is making all efforts to polarise the bulk inhabitants,” a TMC chief mentioned.
The TMC additional termed the Owaisi-led social gathering as a “communal pressure deputed by BJP” to behave as “vote cutter”. “Identical to the BJP, the AIMIM can be a communal pressure. Each the political events survive on divisive politics. The AIMIM is planning to struggle elections in Bengal to assist the BJP within the state,” senior TMC chief and state minister Firhad Hakim mentioned.
His cupboard colleague and state Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Siddiqullah Chowdhury exuded confidence that Muslims will not go along with the AIMIM within the meeting polls, prone to be held in April-Could subsequent 12 months.
“The Muslims in Bengal are politically acutely aware; they will not assist a celebration which is an outsider in state politics and a B-team of the BJP. The Muslims would vote for the TMC to cease the saffron social gathering from coming to energy,” he mentioned.
The BJP, for which the division of Muslims votes is important to successful the elections, nevertheless, denied the declare that the AIMIM would possibly show to be its B-team. “We do not want a B-team or a C-team to win Bengal elections. We’ll win the state meeting polls on our power and benefit, bagging greater than 200 seats,” BJP nationwide vice-president Mukul Roy mentioned.