Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, which was given tags like ‘vote cutter’ and spoiler in the Bihar assembly polls, won five Muslim-dominated seats on Tuesday and said its critics have got a befitting reply from the people.
With the election results on a knife’s edge earlier in the day, many thought AIMIM could play a key role in the formation of the next government in case there was a hung assembly, having captured a sizeable number of seats in the state’s Seemanchal region, which was being seen as a stronghold of the grand opposition alliance. The results, however, appeared giving a simple majority to the NDA.
After the election results, Owaisi said one learned from their mistakes in politics, NDTV reports. “Our Bihar chief personally met with each and every leader of political parties. No one was ready to touch us. Big parties treated me like an untouchable. Our party president met every important Muslim leader as well,” he said, adding that despite all the effort, nothing worked.
Owaisi said he could not say why nothing worked out, but added that he expected the party to perform better hereafter. The AIMIM will decide later which party it will support, he said.
AIMIM had fielded candidates in a number of constituencies, especially those with a high percentage of Muslim voters, contesting 24 seats in the Bihar polls in alliance with former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP and the BSP. The opposition had dubbed the AIMIM as ‘BJP’s B-team’ claiming that, due to a split in Muslim votes, the more votes the AIMIM received, the more favourable position would be granted to the BJP-JD(U) alliance.
Owaisi said on Tuesday evening that it was a “very good day” for their party. “People of Bihar have voted for us and given us their blessings. I don’t know how I can thank them,” he said.
The AIMIM leader said the party would work for the people and focus on flood-affected areas, while thanking people for coming out and voting for them despite the ongoing pandemic.
However, Owaisi said the party must be lacking in something, which resulted in it not winning more seats. The leader said they would sit and work together on the issues to increase their gains.
The Congress repeated its ‘B-team’ charge on Tuesday as trends put the Mahagathbandhan behind the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. “We were assured of a victory in Bihar but then some smaller parties cost us… Owaisi’s party has played a role in cutting our votes, Owaisi has been used by the BJP to target us,” Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhary said.
Owaisi responded by saying Congress was attempting to “hide their frustration”. “If they are defeated they blame Owaisi. We started our Bihar journey five years back. We have worked for development of Seemanchal. We will decide later who we will support. Our fight for justice for Seemanchal will continue,” he said.