Owaisi creates ripple among parties banking on Muslim votes in UP
Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which is going to contest next year’s Uttar Pradesh assembly election on the promise of creating leadership among Muslims, has created unease in the political parties that so far considered members of the minority community as their core “vote bank”.
Different castes, including Jatavs, Yadavs, Rajbhars and Nishads, which constitute a relatively small part of the population of UP, more or less have their own leadership, but Muslims, who account for more than 19 per cent of the people in the state, do not see any united leadership.
So the AIMIM, led by Owaisi, wants to end the “slavery” of Muslims in the hands of the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, which had been using them as their “vote bank”, according to party leaders.
There are 82 assembly segments in the state where Muslim voters are in a position to make or mar the political fortunes of the candidates.
Buoyed by winning five seats in last year’s Bihar polls from the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region, which gave jitters to the RJD and the Congress, Owaisi has already announced that his party will field candidates in 100 of the 403 seats in UP.
The Hyderabad MP launched his poll campaign from Ayodhya earlier this month, and since then has been addressing public meetings at different places.
AIMIM national spokesperson Syed Asim Waqar said on Sunday that the main goal of the party is to create a political narrative and leadership among Muslims.
“Even the so-called secular parties, which were getting the votes of the Muslims, never allowed a Muslim leadership to emerge. The report of the Sachar Committee has made out the condition in which the parties have pushed them to,” he said.
The opinions of experts differ on whether Muslims, after the rise of Hindutva politics, have become aware enough to create their own acceptable leadership.
The SP and the BSP have accused Owaisi of serving the interest of the ruling BJP by trying to divide Muslim votes and dismissed any possibility of the AIMIM having any impact in the countrys political heartland.
Senior SP leader Abu Azmi discarded Owaisi as a “vote-katwa” (splitter of votes) who is acting on behalf of the BJP to damage the poll prospects of the SP.
State media coordinator of the Congress Lallan Kumar said Owaisi remembers Muslims only at the time of elections and claimed that the minority community has traditionally supported the grand old party.
However, political analyst Parvez Ahmed believes that this time, the “Owaisi factor” will definitely have an impact in UP.
“The reason for this is that after the rise of hardline Hindutva politics in the country, a large section of Muslims has started to understand the importance of their separate leadership. The SP, the BSP and other parties that claim to be Muslim-friendly have been silent on the issues of Muslims.
“The idea is now gaining strength among Muslims that if it they do not have a leadership of their own, the atrocities against them will only increase,” he said.