Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM is set to make an electoral debut in West Bengal, with the party planning to field its candidates in all the 294 Assembly seats in the 2021 polls. Last month, the party won the Assembly bypoll in Bihar’s Kishanganj, located on the border with West Bengal.
“We have a presence in all the villages of West Bengal. We will contest the Assembly polls in 2021. This is the first time that we will contest polls in Bengal, and we plan to contest in all the seats,” AIMIM spokesperson Asim Waqar, who is also the party’s observer for West Bengal, told The Indian Express over the phone.
Waqar’s announcement comes amid a public spat between TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Owaisi.
On Monday, while addressing a rally in Cooch Behar, Mamata accused the AIMIM — though she didn’t take the party’s name — of working in cahoots with the BJP. “There are some people whose base is in Hyderabad… They have got money from the BJP. They are saying to minorities ‘join us and we will give you protection’. Don’t listen to them. There are some extremists among minorities,” Mamata had said.
Hours later, Owaisi hit out at the TMC chief, telling her to “stop appeasing Muslims for votes”.
“She is looking down on Muslims in the state as human indicators of Muslims are very low in the state. Please stop appeasing Muslims for votes,” Owaisi told mediapersons in Delhi.
Elaborating on party chief’s Owaisi’s remarks, Waqar said that successive governments in Bengal never looked into the interest of Muslims in the state. “We are the one who is fighting to give Muslims their true rights,” he said, claiming that that party has been able to spread to the grassroots level and is fast expanding its base.