Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, announced on Saturday that his party will contest the upcoming Bihar elections, focusing on the state’s northeastern Seemanchal region with a sizeable Muslim population.
Announcing the move that may not augur well for the JD(U)-RJD –Congress combine that is pitted against the BJP-led NDA, Owaisi said successive governments in Bihar had neglected the Seemanchal region.
“Backwardness of the region would be our election issue. We would soon announce the number of constituencies we would be fighting the polls,” Owaisi told reporters in Hyderabad. He said there would be no pre-poll alliance with any party
Though a new entrant to Bihar’s electoral politics, the AIMIM could cut into the Muslim vote bank of the Grand Alliance comprising the JD(U), RJD and the Congress, and hand over the advantage to the NDA.
Analysts say the AIMIM could influence results in at least 21 Muslim-dominated constituencies of Kosi-Purnia divisions, besides another 15 in Bhagalpur-Munger divisions.
Muslims who make up 17% of Bihar’s 10.50 crore population are thought to have the ability to influence the electoral outcome in about 50 of the state’s 243 assembly seats.
Owaisi had held a rally in Kishanganj last month and drawn a large crowd.
The Hyderabad-based party is reportedly keen to spread its wings since its prospects have stagnated in the Telangana state. It had only seven MLAs – all elected from the old city quarters of Hyderabad – in the assembly before the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh state.
It, however, tasted success when it contested the Maharashtra polls last year and won two seats.