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Friday, November 13, 2020
Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM Plays Spoilsport By Making A Dent Into Muslim Votes In Bihar Elections
New Age Islam Special Correspondent
13 November 2020
The allegation of being a vote cutter against Owaisi's AIMIM may not hold true when we closely analyse the results of Bihar assembly elections 2020 but it is true that the AIMIM only targets Muslim votes and therefore weakens the secular forces, particularly the Grand Alliance formed to fight BJP-led NDA. That's where the AIMIM can be blamed for strengthening the BJP which it actually claims to fight.
The AIMIM contested 14 seats in the Seemanchal region which comprises Kishanganj, Araria, Katihar and Purnia Lok Sabha constituencies.
According to the Election Commission statistics, Kishanganj has above 60% Muslim population, Araria has 45% Muslim population, Katihar has 40% and Purnia has above 30% Muslim population.
The AIMIM contested in 14 assembly constituencies of Seemanchal and won in only 5 seats out of six assembly seats of Kishanganj Lok Sabha constituency namely Baisi, Jaukihat, Bahadurganj, Amour and Kochadhaman. One assembly seat of Kishanganj Lok Sabha constituency, Thakurganj was retained by RJD.
This was not a great achievement because Owaisi wrested these four seats from the Congress and the RJD.
The seats of Baisi and Jaukihat were with the Congress and Bahadurganj and Amour were with the Congress. Kochadhaman was with the JDU.
Therefore, by winning these seats Owaisi's party did not make a dent into the vote share of the BJP but wrested the seats held by secular parties RJD and Congress at a time RJD and Congress needed them the most.
It won seats of Kishanganj Lok Sabha seats where Muslims form more than 60% of the population. Since Owaisi had fielded his candidates against sitting MLAs of RJD and Congress, he campaigned against the secular Grand Alliance though the opposition parties target the ruling party/parties in the election and criticise the wrong and anti-people policies of the ruling party. But Owaisi criticised RJD and Congress and tried to convince the Muslim masses that RJD-Congress combine was a bigger threat to them than the BJP-led NDA. The result was that the Muslims of Kishanganj Lok Sabha constituency voted for the AIMIM.
In the constituencies of Katihar, Araria and Purnia, the AIMIM could not win seats because the Muslim population in those constituencies was less than 40% and also the Muslims of these constituencies had realised that voting for the AIMIM will only weaken the secular Grand Alliance and strengthen the NDA.
Therefore, in Araria, the AIMIM polled only 8924 votes. The Congress won by polling 1,03, 054 votes even though Shagufta Azim of JDU polled 55118 votes.
In Pranpur constituency the AIMIM lost deposit as it polled only 508 votes. But in this constituency, an independent candidate Ishrat Perween played spoilsport and paved the way for the BJP's victory. In this constituency, the BJP got the highest 79974 votes while the Congress candidate Tauqeer Alam got 77002 votes, about 2000 votes less than the BJP. But the Independent candidate Ishrat Perween got 19746, almost 20, 000 votes. If she had not contested, the 20,000 Muslim votes would have gone to the Congress and Congress would have won by 18000 votes.
Here, Muslim voters seem to have been so much influenced by anti-Congress rants of Owaisi that they preferred an Independent over the Congress.
In Katihar, RJD had fielded Ram Prakash Mahto but three Muslim candidates SDPI's Md Zameed and two Independents Md Kalamuddin Ansari and Afaque also contested. The BJP won Katihar.
In Rupauli, BJP won but it was because the secular votes were divided by two secular parties, LJNSP and CPI. The BJP polled 64324 votes and LJNSP polled 44994 and the CPI polled 41963. Together they polled more than 85000 votes. So, BJP won due to the division of seculae votes.
In a couple of seats it was the BSP that caused the division of secular votes and facilitated the victory of the NDA.
On the whole, only AIMIM cannot be blamed for giving an edge to the BJP but other secular parties like BSP, NCP and other regional parties of Bihar are also to blame.
NOTA also played a big role in the defeat of the Grand Alliance. The NOTA votes even totalled up to 4000. In Rupauli and Forbesganj the NOTA votes were between 3000 and 4000. This reflects the resentment of large number of voters against the ruling BJP-JDU alliance and a lack of trust on secular parties. A large number of Grand Alliance candidates lost by a hundred votes. If the Congress and RJD had revived the faith of NOTA voters in the election process and had won their confidence, the Grand Alliance would have reached the required number.
Therefore, it can be said that Owaisi's policy of targetting only the Muslims may win him some seats at the cost of secular parties, but he will end up only strengthening the communal forces though he claims to fight for the empowerment of Muslims.
It is intriguing that he does not speak about uniting the Muslims and the backward sections of India. It can be recalled that during the anti-NRC movement, his colleague Waris Pathan had made a communal remark when Muslim and Dalit leaders were trying to forge a Muslim-Dalit alliance.
Therefore, his concentrating on the Muslim population of Kishanganj and targetting only the seats already with the Congress and RJD creates doubts over his real political agenda.