For West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, tackling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run up to the Assembly elections was already proving to be a daunting task. Mamata's challenges are certain to increase manifold with influential cleric of Furfura Sharif Dargah in Hooghly district floating his own party.
Abbas Siddiqui on Thursday floated a new political outfit - Indian Secular Front (ISF) - ahead of the upcoming assembly polls. Siddiqui or Pirzada of Furfura Sharif, as he is famously known, said his party is likely to field candidates on all 294 Assembly seats in the state.
Siddiqui made his ambitions clear, saying he wants to be the 'kingmaker' in Bengal.
"We have formed this party to ensure that constitutional democracy is protected, everybody gets social justice and all of us live with dignity," Siddiqui said after announcing the launch of his party at Kolkata Press Club.
"It is the duty of Mamata Banerjee as the chief minister of the state to take everybody along to stop the march of the BJP, not mine," he said responding to a question whether his outfit will try to forge an alliance with Mamata's TMC.
The ISF's entry just months before the Bengal Assembly elections is certain to split the minority votes. The TMC was already under pressure following AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's announcement to contest the state polls.
Meanwhile, Owaisi has voiced his support for the ISF.
"Every election, columns are dedicated to analyse Muslim voters, but not others. This author has argued elsewhere that TMC’s ground is slipping. Where’s the consistency? If I’m not relevant then why discuss? We’ll contest elections and let people decide. We stand by Furfura Sharief," the AIMIM chief said in his tweet.