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Hawaii’s entry into Bengal is likely to alter TMC’s dominance over minorities | India News


CALCUTTA: With Asaduddin Owai’s AIMIM announcing that it would contest the Bengal polls, having won five seats in neighboring Bihar, political arithmetic will, in all likelihood, witness a major shift, as TMC’s influence on votes from minorities seem to face a tough challenge. .
However, the party led by Mamata Banerjee, which had been the sole beneficiary of minority votes since the defeat of the Left Front in 2011, tried to show a brave face, arguing that Owaisi’s influence over Muslims is limited. to Hindi and Urdu. Speaking communities that make up only six percent of the Muslim electorate in the state.
Muslims make up 30 percent of West Bengal voters. The state has the largest number of Muslim electorate in the country after Kashmir.
A deciding factor in nearly 100-110 seats in the 294-member Assembly, minorities, especially Muslims, until 2019, have acted as a bulwark for the TMC against its rivals, with most of them voting in favor of the party, considering that be a “credible” force that can withstand the rise of saffron.
With the entry of AIMIM, the equations are likely to change, prominent Muslim leaders said.
Encouraged by the results of the Bihar polls, Owaisi had announced that AIMIM would participate in elections in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other states.
Speaking about the Telangana-based party’s detailed plan for the West Bengal Mission, its national spokesman Asim Waqar told PTI on Wednesday that the team has already established units in 22 of the state’s 23 districts.
“We will fight in the assembly elections in Bengal. We are preparing our strategy. We have registered our presence in 22 of the 23 districts of the state. We believe that as a political party, we can make great strides in the state,” Waqar said. said.
AIMIM’s plan to enter Bengal was frowned upon by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at an anti-NRC demonstration in North Bengal in November last year, when she, without mentioning her name, launched a frontal assault. to the party asking Muslims to be careful. Hyderabad “minority extremists”.
Owaisi, who is rapidly emerging as the leading Muslim voice in the country, was quick to respond, claiming that minorities in West Bengal have one of the worst indicators of human development.
According to AIMIM, Owaisi has found Bengal to be fertile ground for its expansion plans. The party has built a “good base of support” in the minority-dominated districts of Malda, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas.
The five districts comprise more than sixty seats in the assembly. By the way, except for South 24 Parganas, the remaining four districts border Bihar, where the party won five seats, eating up the Muslim vote share of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan.
According to the state leadership of AIMIM, the party showed interest in Bengal for the first time after the 2019 parliamentary elections.
A demonstration was duly organized in Calcutta, which witnessed a large attendance of Muslim youth.
“We felt that Muslims were looking for an alternative and we decided to build our base in the state. When we visited the districts, we received a favorable response. Now we have a solid base in various places,” said a state leader from AIMIM.
According to AIMIM sources, the war of words between Banerjee and Owaisi provided the party with a much-needed propellant to make a foray onto the state’s political scene.
That, followed by violent upheaval over the Citizenship Amendment Act, gave the party a perfect opportunity to expand its presence in the state.
“In addition, the recent migrant labor crisis has helped us, as a large part of Muslims realized who their true friend is,” said the AIMIM leader.
Mohammed Kamruzzaman, general secretary of the Bengal Minority Youth Federation, told PTI that Muslims who had voted for the TMC are not happy with the way the party has performed on many fronts.
Several events, such as the incorporation of TMC leaders into the BJP, have raised “doubts about the credibility of the Mamata Banerjee party in its fight against the BJP.”
“Muslims, for the last ten years, have voted for the TMC and have hopes and aspirations of the party. Although some of them have been fulfilled, there are also many complaints. A part of Muslims believe that the leaders have voted to unite their hands with the BJP or jumping the boat. So they’re cautious … “said Kamruzzaman.
He refuted claims that Owai’s influence is limited only to Hindi and Urdu-speaking voters.
“Owaisi is also highly respected among Bengali Muslims. And his anti-BJP credentials are impeccable. He has never compromised with the BJP,” said Kamruzzaman, who during 2019 had asked the Muslim community to vote for the TMC.
The imams of the city, who also exert a great influence on the Muslim population of the state, however, have kept a stoic silence on the matter until now.
The TMC, which has yet to fully recover from the reversal of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, when BJP’s account soared from two to 18, fears that AIMIM may act as a “spoiler” in various segments of the assembly.
“In pockets dominated by minorities, where we remain the preferred party, AIMIM may not win the seats, but it will hamper our prospects. Although West Bengal has 24% Bengali-speaking Muslims and 6% Hindi-speaking Muslims, we need to make sure that the full participation of minority votes remains intact, as the BJP is making every effort to polarize the majority population, “said a TMC leader.
The TMC further described the party led by Owaisi as a “communal force delegated by the BJP” to act as a “vote cutter”.
“Like the BJP, the AIMIM is also a communal force. Both political parties survive thanks to a divisive policy. The AIMIM is planning to fight in the elections in Bengal to help the BJP in the state,” said the senior leader. of the TMC and Minister of State Firhad Hakim. .
His cabinet colleague and state president Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, exudes confidence that Muslims will not go with AIMIM in the assembly elections, which are likely to be held in April-May next year.
“Muslims in Bengal are politically conscious; they will not support a party that is an outsider in state politics and a B-team of the BJP. Muslims would vote for the TMC to prevent the saffron party from coming to power,” he added. he said.
However, the BJP, for which the division of Muslim votes is vital to winning the elections, denied the claim that AIMIM could turn out to be their B team.
“We don’t need a B team or a C team to win the Bengal elections. We will win the state assembly elections on our strength and merit, winning more than 200 seats,” said BJP National Vice President Mukul Roy.

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