Owaisi & Rajbhar Seal Alliance, Peace Party Leader Joins AIMIM
Owaisi announced that the AIMIM will be part of OP Rajbhar’s Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha in Uttar Pradesh.
After winning five seats in Bihar and retaining its strongholds in the Hyderabad civic polls despite a BJP wave, Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has turned its focus to Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
As part of this process Owaisi was in Lucknow on Wednesday and visited Kolkata earlier this week.
The Lucknow visit proved to be productive for the AIMIM chief as he laid the foundation for possible alliances for the Uttar Pradesh elections due in February-March 2022.
Owaisi met Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) Chief Om Prakash Rajbhar in Lucknow and the two parties announced their alliance in the state.
After the meeting, they held a press conference, in which Owaisi said that the AIMIM will be part of Rajbhar's Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha in the state. He also said that they would be speaking to Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party founder and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav's uncle, Shivpal Yadav.
The AIMIM and SBSP were both part of the Grand Democratic Secular Front in the Bihar Assembly elections, which had three other parties, including the BSP.
While Owaisi's AIMIM performed well, winning five out of the alliance's six seats, the SBSP failed to open its account. However, AIMIM would hope to do better in its home state. The party, which contested as an ally of the BJP in 2017, has four seats in the current Assembly, just three less than the Congress. It’s base largely lies with the OBC Rajbhar community in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
However, he remained non-committal on whether Shivpal Yadav's party will be part of their alliance.
"He is a very senior and important leader in UP politics and we will be meeting him," Owaisi said.
Owaisi also responded to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's allegation that he contests elections to split votes. He said, "Till now she has only interacted with Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs. This time, she's up against a real Muslim.”
Peace Party State President Joins AIMIM
The other positive development for the AIMIM was that the state president of the Peace Party, Dr Abdul Mannan, joined the party in Owaisi's presence. He also attended Owaisi’s meeting with Rajbhar.
Dr Mannan is a respected eye surgeon and runs the Aligarh Eye Centre in Balrampur in east-central UP. He had contested from the Utraula seat in Balrampur district in 2012.
Interestingly, Peace Party national President Dr Ayub openly congratulated Dr Mannan on his joining the AIMIM.
"I wish Dr Abdul Mannan Saheb, who was the State President of the Peace Party, a bright future in AIMIM. His work in Peace Party has been commendable, he is a hard-working leader. All of us in the Peace Party respect him," Dr Ayub tweeted.
Dr Ayub's tweet indicates that he may be open to having some kind of adjustment with the AIMIM. The Peace Party's base is in eastern UP, mostly among Ansari Muslims, who fall in the OBC category.
In the past, a few Pasmanda activists have accused AIMIM of not giving enough representation to Pasmanda Muslims. A tie-up with the Peace Party could help adjust that criticism.
The party did well in the 2012 Assembly polls, winning four seats and getting close to three percent of the overall votes. However, it has weakened since then, mainly due to defections from its ranks.
A major reason why the AIMIM and the Peace Party may be willing to make common cause is the anti-CAA protests. The cadres of both parties were actively involved in the protests which got huge traction among Muslims across India.
Dr Ayub was also booked under the draconian National Security Act (NSA) earlier this year for an allegedly derogatory advertisement he issued in a newspaper.
The AIMIM in UP has also been at the receiving end of the NSA in UP, with its functionaries in the Mau district, including district president Asif Chandan being booked for alleged violence during anti-CAA protests.
These arrests are part of a larger trend of Muslims being booked under the NSA by the Yogi Adityanath government.
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