In UP, 100 seats and a long shot for the Owaisi party

The party has been active in the UP since the 2020 elections in Bihar, where it surprised many by winning five seats. For the next elections, the party formed a “third front”, the Bhagidari Parivartan Morchaas well as the Jan Adhikar party led by former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and the Bhartiya Mukti Morcha led by Waman Meshram.

AIMIM, which is likely to contest around 100 seats, has so far announced candidates for 66 seats, most of them with large Muslim populations.

In the run up to the elections, Owaisi, an MP from Hyderabad, has been a regular visitor to the state, holding meetings with several senior opposition leaders, including SBSP leader Om Prakash Rajbhar, the leader of the party Pragatisheel Samajwadi Shivpal Yadav and the Azad Samaj party. Chief Chandrashekhar. The talks, however, were unsuccessful.

In almost all of his speeches so far, Owaisi has hit out at both the BJP and the SP, inviting the oft-repeated accusations of AIMIM of being “BJP’s B team” for cutting off the minority votes of the SP. ‘opposition.

In September, Owaisi denounced the SP leader, saying “when the Muzaffarnagar riots happened, if Akhilesh Yadav [as CM] had started the cases, the Yogi government would not have been able to withdraw the 77 cases”.

He also repeated several times that the SP did not want an “independent leadership of Muslims within the UP”.

A senior AIMIM official said the party hoped to wage a “tough fight” for at least 10 seats in the state. “Seats are spread across the state,” he said, citing Nanpara in Bahraich, Ruadauli in Ayodhya, Domariyaganj in Siddharth Nagar district, Saharanpur Dehat, Sahibabad in Ghaziabad and Siwal Khas in Meerut as some of the seats where he sees a fighting chance. .

While the party is still finding its footing in the state, Owaisi’s popularity surged during anti-CAA protests in December 2019. While Owaisi’s fiery speeches make him a natural catcher, it remains to be seen s he can convert that popularity into votes. this election.

The party made its UP debut in 2017, when it contested 38 seats and lost them all with an overall vote share of 0.24%. His best performance in this election was in Sambhal, where his candidate Ziaur Rehman came third with 59,336 votes, behind Dr Arvind of the BJP (59,976 votes) and Iqbal Mehmood of the SP (79,248 votes). AIMIM had also won 23 zila panchayat member seats in the panchayat elections held last year.

While AIMIM has little to lose in the UP, if the party does come out on top, it will be at the expense of the SP, which relies on its Muslim-Yadav vote bank to do so.

A senior PS official calculates that even if AIMIM wins 10,000 votes for each of the seats it is running for, it will be Muslims who make up our party’s vote bank. “It can make or break several seats, and help the BJP,” explains the leader.

Muslims – who make up 19% of UP’s population, according to 2011 census data – are likely to be a deciding factor in about 60-70 seats, where their population ranges from 35-50%.

Rejecting the opposition’s accusation that AIMIM is “BJP’s B team”, party state executive committee member Mohammad Salman says: “How can it be said that we are the BJP’s B team? This tag disappears when we do well. Now no one calls us Bihar B team. Also, what about places like Karnataka where Congress governments are overthrown by the BJP? Will Congress blame us too?

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