In BJP’s landslide in Uttar Pradesh, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) failed to make a start in its electoral debut and drew a blank in all the 39 seats it contested.
In a state with 19.3% Muslim voters, AIMIM fielded candidates on seats where Muslim voters were in large numbers and focused its campaign there.
However, the results were a complete letdown.
The most prominent AIMIM candidate was Zia-ur-Rehman, the grandson of BSP MP Shafeequr Rehman Barq. Rehman finished second in Sambhal with 60,426 votes behind SP’s Iqbal Mehmood who got 79,248.
Another promising AIMIM candidate Mohd Tabish Khan came fifth with 19,040 votes from Mehdawal seat (Sant Kabir Nagar). BJP’s Rakesh Singh Baghel won the seat, polling 86,97 votes.
Owaisi said the results proved that secular parties have failed the Muslims yet again and asserted that the Muslim vote bank is a myth.
“We contested only in 38 seats and even if you say we played spoilsport in these seats, what about other constituencies? Why these secular parties failed miserably is the question they need to answer,” Owaisi told HT.
He said there is no point in getting into a blame game unless secular parties make up their mind to see “the reality” and “empower Muslims”.
The focus should be empowerment and not playing vote bank politics, which in any way is a “myth”.
AIMIM had held its first public rally post demonetisation at Shohratgarh in Siddhartnagar on December 19.
Buoyed by the public turnout at Shohratgarh, AIMIM office-bearers had exuded confidence of making inroads and opening its account in the UP assembly.
By targeting the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BJP in his election speech, the firebrand AIMIM chief made it clear who he would attack. In his speeches, he highlighted ‘failures of the SP government’ in Muslim dominated assembly constituencies.
The Muslim leader, who was denied permission by authorities to hold meetings in communally sensitive cities like Kanpur, Agra, Azamgarh and Saharanpur, said he would continue to focus on UP. “This is our first election in the state. We are here to stay.”