Owaisi’s AIMIM to contest Bengal polls, TMC calls it BJP’s B staff

Kolkata, November 11

With Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) announcing its decision to contest the 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal, the ruling TMC in the state Wednesday called it a “communal force which acts as the B team of BJP”.

Buoyed by the results in the Bihar assembly polls, Owaisi had on Tuesday night announced that AIMIM would contest the polls in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other states but did not divulge details on an alliance with other parties.

Asked about AIMIM’s detailed plans for West Bengal, which has nearly 30 per cent Muslim population, the party’s national spokesperson Asim Waqar told PTI on Wednesday that the party has already set up units in 22 out of the 23 districts of the state.

“We will fight the assembly polls in Bengal. We are preparing our strategy for that. We have a good presence in 22 out of the 23 districts of the state. We think as a political party we can make deep inroads in the state,” Waqar said.

Reacting to allegations of acting as “B team” of the BJP and being a “vote cutter”, Waqar termed it as “baseless” and “politically motivated”.

“These allegations are baseless and a sign of desperation of the TMC. Mamata Didi and TMC have to decide whether they want to fight with us or against us,” he said.

“We are ready to fight alone. We are a political party and we have every right to fight polls. No one can stop us from doing so,” Waqar, who also has been appointed as AIMIM in-charge of Bengal by Owaisi, added.

Reacting to the development, the TMC termed the Owaisi-led party as a “communal force deputed by BJP” to act as “vote cutter” in the polls.

“Just like BJP, the AIMIM is also a communal force.

Both the political parties survive on divisive politics. The AIMIM is planning to fight elections in Bengal to help BJP in the state,” senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim said.

“Let me make it very clear that they (AIMIM) will not be able to make an impact as the Muslims of the state stand by Mamata Banerjee in Bengal,” he said.

BJP has often accused TMC of indulging in appeasing the minorities for the sake of vote bank politics.

The minorities, who comprise nearly 30 per cent of the state’s electorate, are a deciding factor in almost 110 assembly seats spread across its various districts. They are a vote bank that every political party try to woo in Bengal.

Since 2011 the minorities in Bengal have voted en bloc in favour of the Trinamool Congress giving an edge to Mamata Banerjee’s party.

AIMIM, which bagged five seats in the Bihar polls, seems to have cut big time into the Mahagathbandhan vote share. It had fought in 20 seats in Bihar polls as part of the Grand Democratic Secular Front that has four other parties, including Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. — PTI


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