The All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will contest 44 out of the 288 seats in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections scheduled to be held on 21 October, the party said on Tuesday.

The final tally was announced days after the AIMIM backed out of the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA). In the 2014 state polls, the Hyderabad-based party had contested 24 seats and had won just two.

A senior AIMIM leader, who did not want to be named, said that this time the party is expecting to win 44 seats, many of which have a sizeable chunk of Muslim voters (these also include Byculla and Aurangabad Central seats, which the party won in 2014). “Our votes will not transfer to the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi where we contest, but indirectly the party is not opposing the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, and is supporting it in places where we don’t have candidates," he added.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AIMIM, in an alliance with the VBA, had managed to defeat the Shiv Sena candidate to bag the Aurangabad parliamentary seat—the only Lok Sabha seat it won outside Telangana (the Hyderabad seat is held by party chief Asaduddin Owaisi).

“We also got some Dalit votes in the Lok Sabha elections, but this time our votes won’t transfer," the AIMIM leader said. With the VBA alliance, the AIMIM was trying to consolidate Muslim and Dalit votes at the expense of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The VBA, led by Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBP), has the support by Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and Muslim organizations from across the state. “Last time (2014) it was a five-cornered fight, when the Congress, NCP, Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena contested separately. The Congress and NCP are on the back foot this time," the AIMIM leader said.

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