Even as the chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehhadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi looks all set to field his candidates in Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region of Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar, Grand Alliance constituents, JD (U), RJD and Congress, find it difficult to explain the possible “Owaisi impact” in the belt where BJP did not win any Lok Sabha seat despite the Narendra Modi wave and the NDA winning 31 of 40 Bihar seats.
Owaisi, Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, had addressed a well-attended rally on Sunday at Kishanganj, where he catered to the youth and targeted both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad for their brand of “secularism”. Though local JD (U), RJD and Congress have not been reading too much into AIMIM leader’s likely foray in Seemanchal politics publicly, they have been wary of the growing popularity of Owaisi.
Owaisi has got in his rank a firebrand local leader, former Kochadaman RJD MLA Akhtarul Iman who had made news in the last Lok Sabha election by withdrawing from the Kishanganj seat as the JD (U) candidate thereby giving a walkover to sitting Congress MP Asrarul Haque. Owaisi made it clear that Iman would be his candidate from Kishanganj. Iman, who is a powerful speaker, has a good hold on the area and can mobilise youth support.
The BJP does not stand much chance in at least 10 of the 24 Seemanchal seats, dominated by Muslims. It may expect Owaisi to split the Muslim belts giving its candidates an outside chance in the belt that is pocket borough of the Grand Alliance parties. RJD’s Taslimuddin had won the Araria Lok Sabha seat and NCP’s Tariq Anwar had won the Katihar seat. In the 2010 Assembly polls, NDA under Nitish had won most of the Seemanchal seats.
JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson KC Tyagi told The Indian Express, “So long as Owaisi does not officially declare his candidates, we will not react. Owaisi had told me in a casual conversation sometime ago that his party would not contest the Bihar polls. If he does, voters should apply their minds to consider the motive of someone like Owaisi”.