The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi has been quite active recently in Uttar Pradesh as his party gears up for the assembly elections next year. The AIMIM had announced that it will contest the UP polls under the umbrella of the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha (BSM) convened by Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief and former minister in the Yogi Adityanath government Om Prakash Rajbhar. However, now the Morcha seems to be struggling to forge alliances with any big political outfit including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress. The main reason for this is said to be the presence of Owaisi in the BSM.
Rajbhar recently said that he wants to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at any cost and his priorities for a tie-up will be the SP, then the BSP and then the Congress. However, Rajbhar has failed to get a positive response from any of the three. He recently even went to meet UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh, terming it nothing more than a courtesy visit.
Speaking to News18 on the issue, SBSP spokesperson Piyush Mishra said, “First of all, as our party chief said, we would prefer an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and then BSP and Congress. If these parties don’t form an alliance with us for the 2022 elections, then it will be clear enough that they are indirectly working towards making a BJP government in the state under the pressure of a central agency like CBI or ED. At the moment, AIMIM is with SBSP under the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha. If there is any issue regarding the presence of Owaisi ji in the Morcha in the future, then the decision to drop him from the Morcha or not will be taken by the party leadership."
Owaisi is on a three-day tour of UP and will participate in several programmes. However, many contradictions have also come to the fore between the top leaders of AIMIM and the BSM on several occasions recently.
The Congress and SP have accused the AIMIM of being the “B-team of BJP", which would ensure a fragmentation of Muslim votes in UP and a consolidation of Hindu votes in favour of the saffron party.
Speaking to News18, UP Congress spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said, “Rajbhar ji started as a leader of Rajbhar society, but he duped his own people by forging an alliance with the BJP in 2017. Atrocities continued on people from his society but he stayed with the BJP government. Today his condition is more like an unpredictable weather forecast: he says something in the morning and might say the opposite by evening. Now he is not speaking about the betterment of his society, he is only speaking about his personal gains and is ready to do anything for that. He shook hands with such people who are declared as B-team of the BJP. It is a well-known fact that people like Owaisi are the B-team of the BJP. Whenever he comes to UP, he makes things easy for the BJP. How can we accept such people in an alliance with the Congress? If Rajbhar ji wants to forge an alliance, he will have to drop such people and then approach us. It is up to him now to decide if he wants to side with the B-team of BJP or the Congress."
SP legislator and spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan echoed similar sentiments. “The Samajwadi Party is continuously holding talks with smaller parties and those who want to come with us can approach our leadership," he said. “However, there is no question of speaking to people who work for the BJP. Also, Rajbhar ji can come and speak for his own party and not for others. We are forging an alliance with political parties and not with any Morcha. So, if Rajbhar ji wants to come with us he should come and speak about his own party. Alliances are not formed overnight and it is always the decision of the top leadership."