Bihar

Bihar Assembly Elections | Bihar needs an alternative voice, says Asaduddin Owaisi

MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. File   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Asaduddin Owaisi says the people of Bihar need an alternative, explaining the reasons for allying with the Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic), Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. The AIMIM is contesting 18 seats in the 243-member Assembly.

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What is the AIMIM’s vision for Bihar?

We started our political journey five years ago. When we contested six Assembly seats, we lost deposit in five of them. We have been consistently demanding justice for the most backward region of our country, the Seemanchal region. It should be granted special status. Bihar right now requires an alternative political voice that is different from JD(U)-BJP-RJD-Congress combination. Because during 15 years of Nitish Kumar or 15 years of the RJD, nothing has happened in terms of real development. In every parameter, Bihar is still behind the rest of the country. During the COVID crisis, the highest unemployment rate of nearly 46% was in Bihar compared to the national average of 26%.

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What was the compulsion to contest with such a disparate group of parties, like the BSP that has had a different stand from you on all critical issues or Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP who decided belatedly to exit the mahagatbandhan?

Initially, we started our journey alone. Then we had an alliance with Mr. Devendra Prasad Yadav’s Samajwadi Janata Party. Later on, there was a lot of discussion to be part of a larger alliance, so that a consolidated fight can be given to the RJD and Nitish Kumar.

As far as Mr. Kushwaha is concerned, questions were not asked till he was with the RJD or the BJP. Questions are raised only when someone allies with us. The meeting point for all of us is to form an alternative political platform.

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You are always referred to as a ‘nuisance factor’ of the Indian politics, be it in Maharashtra, now Bihar and at some point you would be contesting West Bengal elections too...

Well, if I am a nuisance to Congress, BJP, RJD and JD(U) then that means I am doing something good. All these nomenclatures — vote katua or nuisance — don’t matter to me. It only shows that we are becoming stronger on the ground. Last Assembly elections, the mahagatbandhan contested on only one issue, that is, ‘we will stop the BJP’. Nitish Kumar had gone to the extent of saying that he will work for ‘Sangh-mukt Bharat’. Lalu Prasad had said, ‘We will stop Mohan Bhagwat [RSS chief]’. All these three parties are to be blamed for the BJP being in power today in the State. The fault of deceiving and lying to the people of Bihar lies with them.

Why should the Bihari Muslim vote for you instead of RJD, Congress or JD(U) who are already an established political force in the State?

We are not an exclusive Muslim party. I, Asaduddin Owaisi, am not a Muslim leader. I don’t want to be a Muslim leader; that is not my ambition or objective of my political journey. Voters of Bihar should exercise their vote in our favour because the RJD and the Congress have utterly failed in stopping the BJP juggernaut. Five years ago they took your vote and now BJP is back in power. They were unable to put up a fight during the parliamentary elections in Bihar and because of them, the NDA won 39 Parliament seats. And another example of why you must vote AIMIM is the Kisanganj parliamentary seat. Our candidate Akhtrul Iman got 3 lakh votes, the JD(U) got 3.25 lakh votes and the present Congress MP got 3.5 lakh votes. Had we not contested, even that seat would have been lost.

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People have seen this game by so-called secular parties, who are interested in taking their votes, but they don’t have enough votes to stop or defeat the BJP. What happened to the RJD in the Lok Sabha election, how come even Lalu Prasad’s family members lost the parliamentary elections?

Also read: Bihar Assembly elections | BJP, JD(U) split seats evenly, to share with smaller allies

So your sole electoral promise is to stall the BJP?

We have always been opposing BJP, continue to oppose BJP.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:15:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/bihar-needs-an-alternative-voice-says-asaduddin-owaisi/article32901975.ece

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