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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

‘After Bihar, Bengal is our next target’: AIMIM set for poll debut

In November 2019, the chief minister had targeted the AIMIM, without naming it, while addressing a workers’ meeting in Cooch Behar district.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata | November 12, 2020 1:31:57 pm
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The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which won five seats in the recently concluded Bihar elections, is all set to contest the Bengal Assembly polls for the first time.

The party said it was working in the state for the past three years, and claimed its organisation was ready. According to sources, the AIMIM is building its organisation in districts such as Murshidabad, Malda and Uttar Dinajpur, where the minority community has a large presence. It is also building bases in the South Bengal districts of Howrah, North 24 Parganas, and South 24 Parganas.

“After Bihar, Bengal is our target. We will contest in the Assembly polls. We are active and working in Bengal for the past three years. Our organisation is ready and it is a matter of only announcing the names of our leaders in Bengal,” AIMIM spokesperson Asim Waqar told The Indian Express over the phone.

Waqar said doors were open for talks with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), but added that the party was ready to fight the 2021 polls alone. “We are against BJP. We do not want the BJP to come to power in Bengal. Our doors are open. It is for Mamata Banerjee to decide whether she will join hands with us. Or, we are ready to fight alone as we did in Bihar. The number of seats we will contest and when our leaders including b will visit Bengal will be decided soon,” he added.

The AIMIM leader pointed out that last year Banerjee had targeted the party in her speeches. “Thereafter, some of our leaders were arrested and the police did not permit us to hold rallies in some districts. We are a political party like TMC and we have a right to hold rallies and contest elections,” he said.

In November 2019, the chief minister had targeted the AIMIM, without naming it, while addressing a workers’ meeting in Cooch Behar district. “Don’t trust leaders who come from outside and try to present themselves as your [minority] sympathisers. Only leaders from Bengal can fight for our cause. Those who are visiting from Hyderabad and claiming to be your sympathisers of Muslims are the biggest allies of the BJP,” she added.

Of the five seats that the AIMIM won in Bihar — it contested 20 — four border Bengal. The constituencies of Kochadhaman, Amour, Baisi and Bahadurganj border the districts of Uttar Dinajpur and Malda.

Zamirul Hassan, one of the AIMIM’s known leaders in the state, said, “We are ready here. Now we are waiting for directions from our leaders.”

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