After wresting the Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat from the Shiv Sena in the general elections, the Hyderabad-headquartered All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is looking to increase its tally of 2 MLAs in the forthcoming Maharashtra assembly elections.
Thanks to its successful alliance with the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), the AIMIM is now trying to consolidate a good chunk of the Muslim and Dalit votes, at the expense of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Senior AIMIM leaders said the alliance worked very well in the general elections, with VBA candidates getting 30,000 to over 100,000 votes in some of the state’s 48 seats. The VBA is backed by Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) and Muslims.
“Our alliance definitely helped the VBA draw Muslim votes, taking away crucial votes from the Congress and the NCP in seven or eight seats, resulting in their losses. It also impacted the Shiv Sena and BJP’s vote share in a few seats," said a senior AIMIM functionary, requesting anonymity.
The Gadchiroli-Chimur seat is a case in point. While the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ashok Mahadeorao Nete secured 519,968 votes (45.5%), and the Congress’s Namdeo Dalluji Usendi polled 442,442 votes (38.72%), VBA’s Rameshkumar Baburaoji Gajbe managed to get an impressive 111,468 votes (9.75%). The results were similar in a few other seats, where VBA may have spoilt the chances of candidates belonging to the Congress-NCP alliance.
In the 2014 assembly polls, the AIMIM, led by Hyderabad member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, contested 25 seats, but won only two and securing about 500,000 votes. This time it is expecting to do much better and might contest more seats, the AIMIM leader said. “The vote share among Dalits, STs and Muslims is about 35% of Maharashtra’s population," the AIMIM official added.
The state elections are slated to be held around October. “The results of the 2019 general elections have emboldened Owaisi. While the Prime Minister and right-wingers talk of consolidating Hindu voters, Owaisi is appealing to Muslims for vote, and trying to spread his party in different regions," said Hyderabad-based political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy, adding Owaisi should form an alliance with parties working with the weaker sections of society.