With West Bengal state elections only four months away Trinamool Congress (TMC), CPM and Congress might be feeling the heat of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM)’s entry in the poll fray.
AIMIM has indicated putting up candidates in 22 of Bengal’s 23 districts in the 2021 elections. Sources said AIMIM is likely to contest 45- 55 seats in the 294-member state assembly.
Influential Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui of Furfura Sharif in Hooghly’s Jangipara has indicated his intentions to contest the polls.
AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi has just announced that the party will follow all instructions from Siddiqui.
Around 120 seats are with Muslim majority votes. In 2011 Bengal’s Muslim population was 27.01 per cent. At present it is over 30 per cent.
AIMIM recently achieved success in the Bihar assembly polls by winning 5 out of 21 seats in the Seemanchal area bordering West Bengal. Seemanchal was RJD’s minority stronghold.
Survey reports point out that Bengali speaking Muslim vote had traditionally remained with Congress, CPM and then TMC. BJP secured only 11 per cent Muslim votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The party won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state by securing 40 per cent vote. TMC secured 44 per cent. TMC was ahead in 164 assembly segments as against 121 of BJP.
According to political experts a one to two per cent swing in minority votes could be costly for Mamata. The Left and the Congress presently hold only 7 per cent and 5 per cent of the state’s total votes.
In 2011 CPM lost power when 8 per cent of the votes swung in favour of TMC of which majority were minority votes.
While BJP accuses the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee for appeasing minority votes she has alleged AIMIM as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s – B team.
As per surveys over 60 muslim minority seats are concentrated in six (6) districts of Bengal – Murshidabad (66.28%), Malda (51.27%) North Dinajpur (49.92%), Birbhum (37.06%), South 24 Parganas (35.5%) and South Dinajpur (24.63%). Around 22 per cent of Muslims live in Kolkata. They are a deciding factor in the upcoming city Corporation election that might be held before the state elections.
Barring South 24 Parganas and Birbhum all the remaining four districts border Bihar’s Seemanchal area where where AIMIM won five seats. AIMIM claims to have a substantial support base in the first five districts of Bengal.
Mamata has dubbed Delhi’s BJP leaders as Bohiragato or outsiders. She is also banking on the Bengali speaking minority votes rather than Hindi and Urdu speaking ones. Of the 30 per cent muslim minority votes 24 per cent are Bengali speaking. Mamata’s close aid Siddiqullah Chowdhury feels the minority votes will remain with her.
At present TMC has the second highest number of Muslim MLAs (32) in the country after after Congress with 76 MLAs. TMC has 7 Muslim ministers in the state Cabinet out of 48.
West Bengal has the second highest electorate of 2.47 crore muslim voters after Uttar Pradesh. West Bengal has 7.1 crore voters.
AIMIM has 14 MLAs across the country. The top 10 Muslim dominated states in the country have around 20 Muslim ministers. There are about 300 ministers in these states.
For the moment Mamata looks desperate to win the state elections in April / May and is leaving nothing unturned to retain power.
BJP leaders are unwilling to accept it as a factor.
Since 2019 Lok Sabha polls BJP has lost 11 of the 12 state elections, barring Bihar. Thanks to Owaisi and his party. But will the Owaisi magic work in Bengal? At the moment it is any body’s guess. We need to wait for four months.
But, as it seems, for 2021 Bengal elections muslim minority vote is a vital and important factor holding the key to control of Nabanna, th state headquarters.
This news article is prepared or accomplished by Nirmalya Mukherjee in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of kolkatatoday.com