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AIMIM to contest Gujarat elections 2022: Will it polarise Muslim votes helping BJP?

The opposition, on several occasions, has alleged that Asaduddin Owaisi's party is the 'B' team of BJP. 

Shashwat Bhandari Written by: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Published on: June 13, 2022 19:16 IST
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi
Image Source : PTI

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022: Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), has announced that his party will fight the assembly polls in Gujarat, due to be held later this year. Owaisi said that they have been preparing for the assembly polls since the municipal polls in Ahmedabad and Surat.

"We will fight Gujarat Assembly elections with full strength. However, we have not decided on how many seats. I believe that Sabir Kabliwala (AIMIM Gujarat chief) will make the right decision in this regard,” Asaduddin Owaisi said.

Will AIMIM polarise votes in Gujarat 

Gujarat has been under BJP's rule for nearly 3 decades now. Being the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the development done by him when he was the chief ministers of the state, the saffron party has a different charm in the state, therefore, it's going to be a very challenging task for any other political party to challenge BJP in the elections.

Going by the current political scenario in Gujarat, it's likely going to see a two-way contest between BJP and Congress, though the Aam Aadmi Party is also in the picture, its chances to repeat a 'Punjab' in Gujarat is unlikely to happen, at least in 2022. But the Kejriwal's party, after its mammoth victory in Punjab may still churn a considerable percentage of votes, which could impact the BJP's performance and benefit Congress.

So, the entry of Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM can play a significant role in further polarising the 'vote game'. It is a well known fact that BJP does not get a majority of Muslim votes, its share of votes is always divided against its opponents be it Congress, or any other regional parties.

In Gujarat, the grand-old party still has some ground left as in the 2017 assembly elections, it bagged around 77 seats while BJP won 99 and formed the government.

So if AIMIM contests in Gujarat, it's surely going to divide Muslim votes, which is likely to get split between MIM, Congress, and AAP, indirectly benefiting the saffron party.  

A look at AIMIM's performance in previous assembly elections

In recently concluded Uttar Pradesh elections, AIMIM failed to win a single seat out of 94 seats it contested. The party received an overall 4,50,929 votes or just 0.49 per cent of the total share. However, UP was an entirely different fight where Samajwadi Party was in a much stronger position.

In the 2021 West Bengal elections, AIMIM contested in 7 assembly segments but again failed to win a single seat.

However, in Bihar 2020 elections, AIMIM won 5 out of 20 seats it contested and 2 in Maharashtra in the 2019 legislative polls where it contested 44 seats.

AIMIM BJP's 'B' team?

The opposition has repeatedly alleged that Owaisi's party is the 'B' team of BJP.  Owaisi saeys his party represents the voice of India's largest minority community. However, the AIMIM has seen little electoral success in multiple elections that it has contested in various states. The party's presence, in fact, has confused Muslim voters thus resulting in division of votes. 

The allegations of AIMIM being the 'B' team of BJP or Congress or any other party continue to surface because it does polarise and divide Muslim votes, which in general help the BJP.

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