After a decent performance in the Lok Sabha polls this year, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is set to expand its base across Bihar with its Kishanganj nominee, Akhtarul Iman, lagging behind Congress winner Javed Alam by just 35,000 votes.
AIMIM functionaries said they decided to expand the party’s footprint through public meetings and campaigns ahead of November bypolls for five Assembly seats in the state. The bypolls were necessitated as their representatives were elected to the Lok Sabha.
AIMIM’s Bihar president, Akhtarul Iman, told The Indian Express, “It is now time to explore and expand our base beyond Kishanganj. As it is generally perceived, we are not just a party of Muslims. We represent the Dalits and the poor.”
“The whole idea is to come out of Kishanganj and look towards all of Bihar. We take up issues such as education, health and overall backwardness. We did not win the lone Kishanganj Lok Sabha seat we contested, but our votes have sharply jumped,” said Iman.
Asked how AIMIM reacts to jibes of being a “B team of the BJP”, Iman said, “One has seen how Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ended up being the B team of BJP in last Lok Sabha polls. He was the one who had walked out of NDA in 2013 saying BJP is communal but later returned to it. Now that BJP has returned to power, we will continue to offer them a bigger challenge. In the next Assembly polls, we will show it. We are willing to be part of any non-BJP alliance.”
The party’s youth wing chief for the state, Adil Hasan Azad, added that Asaduddin Owaisi was also likely to campaign for the bypolls, but said that no program had been fixed yet.
The AIMIM first contested in Bihar on six seats in 2015 and garnered over one lakh votes.