Lucknow, Dec 16 (PTI) Buoyed by his party’s showing in the Bihar Assembly polls, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday announced his party's intention to fight the next state elections in Uttar Pradesh as part of a front led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, a former BJP ally.
'We are now part of Mr Rajbhar's morcha,” he told PTI after meeting the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief here.
“Today I met him. So we will go along with him. We will go with the 'Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha,” the Hyderabad-based leader said, referring to the front of smaller parties formed in Uttar Pradesh about a year back.
The SBSP chief confirmed the development.
'We will contest the 2022 UP Assembly elections together. Till yesterday, people used to say that O P Rajbhar is all alone, and what can he do?” he told reporters. “Now, Owaisi ji has come. We will show our strength to the heavyweights.' The `morcha’ also includes former Bahujan Samaj Party leader Babu Singh Kushwaha's Jan Adhikar Party, Babu Ram Pal-led Rashtra Uday Party, Anil Singh Chauhan-led Janta Kranti Party and Premchand Prajapati’s Rashtriya Upekshit Samaj Party.
The Owaisi-Rajbhar meeting comes a day after Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal announced in Delhi that his party will contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2022.
In the recent Bihar elections, Owaisi’s Ail India Majlis-e-Ittehad–ul-Muslimeen won five seats out of the 20 it contested in the Seemanchal region bordering West Bengal.
'Rajbhar ji too had a role in the success we got in Bihar. We are part of the Grand Democratic Secular Alliance,” Owaisi said, referring to the Bihar front.
“We got a lot of confidence from the success in Bihar, and we will continue that momentum,' he added.
There has been some speculation that Mayawati’s BSP could also join the Bhagidari front.
Asked about it, Owaisi said, 'I don't know what lies for us in the future. But as of now, I am part of the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha and we will take it forward, and see what happens in future.' 'Every election is a different election. Our party workers led by UP president Shaukat Ali are working very hard and this time I am sure that our performance will be much better, and now we are part of Rajbhar’s alliance,” he said.
On claims that the AIMIM’s role has been to split opposition votes, he said, 'In a movie, it is the villain who is given the important role.' He recalled that the AIMIM has fought the UP assembly elections earlier as well but without any success. Since then, the party has contested some municipal corporation polls as well.
“We have been working continuously over here,' he said.
In his interactions with the media, SBSP leader Rajbhar said the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha is fighting for education, health and jobs.
Also asked about rivals' terming the AIMIM a “vote-splitter”, he said, 'We want that Owaisi ji splits the votes of his community, Rajbhar splits those of his, and Krishna Patel (Apna Dal) of her community. Let all these votes get accumulated and ensure our win.' Asked if the AIMIM is the BJP’s B team, he claimed that in Uttar Pradesh the Samajwadi Party is the ruling party’s B team, the BSP is its C team and the Congress D team.
“We will form the government in the state in 2022. The truth is that be it the SP, BSP or Congress, none have the guts go alone (in the polls). Today, the BJP is strong, and without any 'morcha', no one will have the guts to move forward,' Rajbhar said.
Owaisi also hit out at Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee over her comment that the BJP is trying to bring the AIMIM to West Bengal to polarise Hindus and Muslims, and divide the votes of the two communities between themselves.
He reminded that Banerjee was part of the BJP-led NDA when the 2002 Gujarat riots took place.
'Till now Mamata Banerjee has only met obedient Mir Jaffers and Mir Sadiqs,” the AIMIM leader said, referring to historical figures known for betrayal. “She is yet to come face to face with a good Muslim, and that will happen.' PTI NAV TIR SMI ASH ASH