Rise above vote bank politics, says Nitish
The possibility of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contesting Assembly polls in Bihar has triggered reactions from parties opposing the BJP. While political parties feel this move could lead to a split in the Muslim vote, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi says such reactions are an admission that these parties are unable to combat BJP politically.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday that parties like the AIMIM should rise above vote bank politics and “decide where they want to take the country.”
Mr. Owaisi’s reaction was swift. “I have not yet decided whether or not to contest the polls in Bihar. The Seemanchal rally I recently attended was fixed a few months in advance, and I was heartened to see the response to our party there. While I still haven’t made up my mind, the JD(U) and others have been expressing their opinion on how I will give the BJP an advantage. These parties blame me for their own shortcomings. A look at the 2014 election results will show you. In Uttar Pradesh, for the first time since Independence, no Muslim MP has been elected. In Bihar too, the BJP swept the polls, I hadn’t contested in these polls, so how come these so-called secular parties lost?” he asked.
“These people are looking to protect certain vote banks as a feudal fiefdom, whereas I’m the one who has everything to lose, like I lost my Masjid [Babri], I lost my people in communal riots, my way of life is being threatened by the BJP and the RSS. To accuse me of aiding the BJP, that too for pecuniary gain, is laughable,” he said. “If that was the case, then why did the BJP win in Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana? Was the AIMIM contesting? In Maharashtra, [where his party won 2 Assembly seats] we got 5 lakh votes for our 24 candidates, the rest of 55 lakh votes polled among the Muslim community are to be accounted for,” he said.