All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi
PTI File Photo

Lucknow/Hyderabad

A day after the Aam Aadmi Party’s official announcement to enter the electoral fray of Uttar Pradesh in 2022, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi landed in Lucknow to sound the poll bugle.

Owaisi met an ex-BJP ally -- Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party -- on Wednesday. This meeting is being viewed as the beginning of the consolidation of small outfits in the state. Owaisi and Arvind Kejriwal’s presence will further fragment the UP Assembly contest. Four big player — BJP, SP, BSP and Congress — are already in the fray.

After winning 5 seats in the recent Bihar Assembly election, AIMIM hopes to make gains in UP. The party had drawn a blank in 2017.

"The ward that CM Adityanath visited (to address a poll rally), the BJP lost all 3 seats... Where Amit Shah went, the BJP lost the seat. I am not here to change names, I am here to win hearts," Owaisi took a dig at Yogi Adityanath who had promised in Hyderabad he would change the city's name to Bhagyanagar if BJP won the Hyderabad civic election.

Ramesh Dixit, a political analyst, says, “AAP will not be able to do much in UP, but Owaisi will surely make a difference in 2022 poll. His party will dent the vote-bank of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party considerably. It will eventually help the BJP.”

A senior journalist based in Lucknow says, “MIM is believed to be the BJP’s B team. Owaisi will polarise the election. It will likely contest Muslim-dominated seats and throw surprises.”

Athar Hussain, another political analyst, thinks otherwise. “Owaisi might get a fraction of votes but I don’t think the Muslim voters who have traditionally been voting for the SP, BSP or Congress will switch loyalty to a Hyderabad-based party.”

Owaisi slams Mamata

Lashing out at West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee over her remarks that the BJP was 'spending money' to bring in a party from Hyderabad to her state to divide Hindu-Muslim votes, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said Muslim voters were not her 'jagir' (property). Rebutting Banerjee's comments, Owaisi tweeted, "So far you've only dealt with obedient Mir Jaffers & Sadiqs. You don't like Muslims who think & speak for themselves. You've insulted our voters in Bihar. Remember what happened to parties in Bihar that kept blaming their failures on "vote cutters"...”

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