Even though the party may have lost from the Kishanganj Lok Sabha seat, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) succeeded in making an impression by leading in two of six Assembly segments and being placed at second position in another segment. The performance has sparked hope within the party.
Its sole candidate for Bihar, Akhtarul Iman, placed third overall with 2,94,859 votes behind the Congress’ Mohammed Jawed who raked up 3,66,820 votes and runner-up JD(U) candidate Mehmood Ashraf who got 3,32,325 votes.
While the AIMIM led in Kochadhaman and Bahadurganj Assembly segments with 68,242 and 67,625 votes respectively, it was placed at second position in Amour with 51,384 votes.
Going by those figures, the AIMIM, which made its electoral Lok Sabha debut in Bihar, made serious inroads into the Congress’ bastion. Muslim votes make up for about 70 per cent of the total in Kishanganj. The seat has been represented by the Congress in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well.
At the Assembly level, AIMIM made its electoral debut in 2015 by contesting Kishanganj’s six Assembly segments. However, it could make much of an impression and garnered only about 36,000-odd votes.
AIMIM’s Bihar youth president Aadil Hasan Azad told The Indian Express: “It is true that we have lost but our show in Kishanganj has given us big hope to expand our base in Bihar. Though it is up to our leader Asaduddin Owaisi to take on how he plans for the 2020 Assembly elections in Bihar, we, as workers, can feel the winds of change turning in our favour. It is quite possible that we can contest from areas other than Kishanganj in Bihar.”
Azad said the Congress had been treating Kishanganj as a ‘pocket borough’ because of the heavy concentration of Muslim voters.
“But the AIMIM is here to take up real issues of development and to demand for special status to Kishanganj. We are talking about unemployment and the need for quality education. We might have lost this election but it has given us reasons to build upon our party organisation here,” said Azad.
He added that the party also managed to rake up a significant number of votes in segments where it stood third — 40616 in Kishanganj, 29,286 in Baisi, 37706 in Thakurganj.
The narrow win however, seems to have shaken the Congress as well.
Bihar Congress spokesperson Harkhu Jha told The Indian Express: “Kishanganj has been our traditional seat but we won it by a narrow margin this time. AIMIM’s rise in Kishanganj is alarming and we cannot allow it to become Hyderabad. We have to rethink our strategy before the 2020 Assembly polls.”