Decisive win for AIMIM even as it ups its nationwide tally

Party managed to bag five seats in Bihar Assembly polls out of the 20 it contested

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) impressive victory in Bihar is perhaps the most significant, outside its home turf of Hyderabad. The party fielded candidates for 20 seats in the recent polls, even as Akhtarul Iman, its Bihar State president, supplanted a six-time Congress legislator in Amour, and won by a margin of over 52,000 votes over his nearest rival.

The party, with its headquarters at Darussalaam in Hyderabad, managed to bag five seats – Amour, Kochadhaman, Jokihat, Baisi and Bahadurgunj – in the recently concluded Assembly polls. The winners Akhtarul Iman, Muhammed Izhar Asfi, Shahnawaz Alam, Syed Ruknuddin and Azher Nayeemi arrived in the city on Wednesday to meet party president Asaduddin Owaisi. They were given a rousing welcome at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

With this win, the AIMIM has become an important player in Bihar, given the current equation of 125 seats with the National Democratic Alliance and 115 with the Mahagatbandhan. It is believed that the Owaisi brothers-led party will exert more pull, despite the fact that it is still to be seen what stance it takes vis-a-vis the Rashtriya Janata Dal and its allies.

The AIMIM had allied with Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and others to form the Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF). In a press conference on the night of his party’s victory on Tuesday, Mr Owaisi said that the outcome was the opposite in connection with the performance of the GDSF, but thanked BSP chief Mayawati and Mr Kushwaha.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Mr Owaisi lashed out at the Congress for accusing it of being a vote-splitter. He said that on the 20 seats which the AIMIM had contested, his party won five, the Mahagatbandhan won nine, and the NDA bagged six. “On the seats where NDA won, the victory margin was higher than our votes. NDA would have won regardless on these seats. In Sherghati, RJD fielded a candidate from extremist Durga Vahini, but still won. What does this say about radicalisation & vote cutters? (sic)” he said.

With its tally in the Bihar polls, the AIMIM across the country has two members of Parliament — meaning one each in Hyderabad and Aurangabad — nine legislators (including two members of Legislative Council) in Telangana and two legislators (Malegaon and Dhule) in Maharashtra.

It has several representatives in local bodies in Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, the party has 33 representatives in local bodies.

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