Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM not likely to contest Assam assembly election

Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is not likely to contest the upcoming Assam assembly election.

“There is no talk on Assam, for our whole concentration is on West Bengal now,” senior AIMIM leader Mohammed Majid Hussain told ET.

Assam and West Bengal are likely to go to the polls in April.

After the AIMIM’s success in the Bihar polls last year, where it won five seats, it was speculated that the Hyderabad-based party might seek to expand its base in the Northeast and make a debut in Assam.

Muslims comprise 34% of Assam’s 31.2 million population, of which 4% are indigenous Assamese Muslims and the remaining mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims. Muslim votes are a determining factor in 30-35 assembly seats out of the total 126 seats.

After Bihar polls, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi had said it was a consistent stand of the party that it would not contest elections in Assam and Kerala owing to the presence of Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Indian Union Muslim League in the two states.

However, some leaders from the Congress and AIUDF, who do not expect to get tickets after the two parties decided to jointly fight the polls, are said to be trying to establish contact with the AIMIM leadership and trying to convince the party to put up candidates in Assam polls.

In November last year, when asked whether the AIMIM putting up candidates marred the prospects of the opposition alliance coming to power in Bihar, Ajmal said, “We could have also gone to Bihar, for I being a cleric have a substantial following there. However, as this will result in a split in votes, I refrained from going to Bihar. I am confident that AIMIM will not put up candidates in Assam.”

Ajmal, a perfume baron and alumnus of Darul Uloom Deoband, represents Dhubri in the Lok Sabha. Over the years, his party has gobbled up the Muslim support base of the Congress. His party had made overtures to the Congress in previous elections for alliance, but without success.

For this year’s polls, the Congress has teamed up with the AIUDF, CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) and Anchalik Gana Morcha.

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