All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday visited West Bengal’s Furfura Sharif in Hooghly district and held talks with prominent Muslim leader Abbas Siddiqui about pitching of candidates for the upcoming state assembly poll.
After meeting Siddique, Owaisi said his party would stand by Siddiqui for the upcoming poll. “Whatever decision Abbas Siddique takes, the AIMIM will stand by him. We won’t just give candidates in the Muslim pockets but will give in other constituencies also,” said he.
Notably, Abbas Siddiqui, an influential Islamic cleric in Bengal, is said to have strongholds in districts such as Hooghly, Burdwan, Murshidabad and North and South 24 Parganas, which account for 120 of the 294 assembly seats.
It was Owaisi’s first visit to Bengal post his declaration MIM would give candidates in the upcoming poll. Notably, MIM had put up a good show during the Bihar election last year bagging 5 seats.
Slamming Owaisi, TMC MP Sougata Roy said the AIMIM is the ‘Plan B’ of the BJP. “BJP is paying MIM to cut Muslim votes. BJP cannot make it alone so they are using Owaisi.Unfortunately, there is not many Urdu speaking Muslims in Bengal. All the Muslims know they are safe under the leadership of CM Mamata Banerjee,” said the TMC MP.
Rubbishing Sougata’s comment, Owaisi said BJP won 18 paliamentary seats without the help of MIM and also Mamata failed to keep her old partymen in the TMC. “BJP is playing their bit and we will do our bit. There are lots of issues that can be our standpoint while campaigning for the election. Our party has nothing to do with the saffron camp,” Owaisi added.
The senior leader from Hyderabad also rubbished TMC’s claim that the AIMIM helped the BJP-led NDA win the Bihar assembly elections.
Talking to Free Press Journal, AIMIM’s West Bengal chief Jamirul Hassan said, “We will contest in all the Assembly seats. Our agenda will be the betterment of Muslims in Bengal and also empowerment of all the weaker sections.”
It can be recalled in 2019 LS poll, Bengal witnessed a polarised 2-way contest where the BJP played their ‘Hindutva card’ and the TMC supported the ‘Muslims’.
According to poll analyst, Abbas Siddique has been vocal against Mamata for long and it can give MIM a chance to cut few loyal minority votes of the ruling Trinamool Congress.