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Why Hawaii’s AIMIM Seriously Challenges Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in UP | India News


NEW DELHI: After a decent performance in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, the head of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, has set his sights on Uttar Pradesh (UP) who will go to the polls next year. In UP, Owai’s main target appears to be the Samajwadi Party (SP) led by Akhilesh Yadav.
From what Owaisi said during his last visit to the country’s most populous state on January 13, it was clear that AIMIM viewed the SP as its main rival party. Just after landing in Varanasi, he told the media that during the Akhilesh government regime (2012-2017), he was prevented from entering the UP 12 times and denied arrival permission 28 times.
What he said next could be music for Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government in the state. He said he was in the state after getting the permit. “Now when I got the permit, I’m here,” he said.
AIMIM always faces two serious questions from its rivals: which is a “vote-katwa” party (party that divides votes) and which is the “agent of the BJP”.
Owaisi, a member of the Hyderabad Lok Sabha parliament, responded to both charges. On AIMIM as a “vote-katwa” party, he said that his opponents wanted people to continue voting like slaves and that other political parties should not participate in the elections. When AIMIM disputes any election, its motive is to win it and not to ensure the victory or defeat of anyone else, he said.
On AIMIM as “agent of the BJP”, Owai’s curt response was that his party leaders should not worry about such accusations. In the Bihar elections, AIMIM was in the Secular Democratic Front and everyone knows who benefited from it. His obvious reference was to the five seats that AIMIM won in Bihar’s assembly elections for the first time.
In fact, Bihar has inspired Owaisi to launch AIMIM in UP in an important way. He contested 38 seats in the elections to the UP assembly in 2017 and did not win a single one. He obtained only 0.24 percent of the votes.
However, Owaisi has stated that AIMIM would compete in about 25 percent of the total seats, which is equivalent to about 100 in the 403-seat assembly.
When it comes to increasing the number of winning seats and voting participation in the 2022 elections, AIMIM is looking at the SP that gets the most votes from Muslims, who make up 19.3 percent of the population of the state.
In the 2017 assembly elections, SP fought in 311 seats, while its then alliance partner, Congress, in 114 seats. While SP won 47 seats by obtaining 21.9 percent of the votes, Congress won with only seven seats and obtained 6.3 percent of the votes.
Similarly, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), led by Mayawati, contested all 403 seats, but won with only 19 seats. But he got 22.2 percent of the vote.
On the other hand, the BJP presented its candidates in 384 seats, winning 312 by obtaining 39.7 percent of the vote.
The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) led by Om Prakash Rajbhar had contested eight seats, won four, and obtained 0.7 percent of the vote. SBSP has aligned itself with AIMIM for the 2022 UP assembly elections.
Owaisi wishes to replicate Bihar’s experiment in UP. Instead of being a “vote-katwa” party, AIMIM strives to create an electoral district. It has already declared its first candidate for the next assembly elections. Abdul Mannan, an ophthalmic surgeon by profession who resigned from the Peace Party to join AIMIM, would be sent from the Utraula assembly constituency in the Balrampur district.
In Bihar, AIMIM further damaged Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), led by Lalu Prasad. AIMIM split the Muslim votes that otherwise used to go to RJD.
In UP, SP is likely to suffer more from the serious entry of AIMIM. By the way, both the SP and the RJD have the same vote banks: Muslims and Yadavs (MY). AIMIM could walk away with a sizable chunk of Muslim votes that used to fall into SP’s spoils until the last election.
While AIMIM would benefit from this strategy, it would also tangentially benefit the BJP, as it did in Bihar, where the latter emerged as the second-largest party by winning 74 seats, just one less than RJD out of a total of 243 seats.

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