Hyderabad, Sep 12 (IANS) Taking another step for a pan India presence, the AIMIM on Saturday decided to contest the Bihar assembly elections.
Party president Asaduddin Owaisi announced that it will contest only from Seemanchal region of the state.
He told reporters that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will soon announce the number of seats it will be contesting.
Seemanchal region in Bihar comprising four districts accounts for 24 assembly seats in the 243-member assembly.
He also announced that Akhtarul Iman will be the president of the Bihar unit of AIMIM. Iman, a three-time legislator of Bihar, quit the Janata Dal United last year.
The Hyderabad MP said the backwardness of Seemanchal would be the main poll issue for his party. “We will demand a regional development board under Article 371 of the constitution for the overall development of Seemanchal,” he said blaming the Congress, BJP, RJD and JDU for the region’s backwardness.
Owaisi, who addressed a public meeting in Seemanchal last month, made it clear that AIMIM would contest the elections on its own. He, however, did not rule out post-poll alliances.
“We are realistic about our chances. We know our strengths and weaknesses,” said Owaisi when asked why his party chose to contest in only one region.
The Muslim leader said the party would carry Dalits and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). These sections make up 70 to 75 percent of Seemanchal’s population.
“Why do you limit us to Muslims. You have Dalits, OBCs and various people. We are talking about development of Seemanchal which includes every section of society,” he said.
For the rest of Bihar, Owaisi appealed to people to defeat communal forces. “There are communists and others. There are many options before people,” he said when asked if he was urging people to vote for the grand alliance of the JDU, RJD and Congress.
He termed as baseless the argument that AIMIM’s presence will divide the secular votes. “You are not the only flag bearers of secularism. We are not coolies of secularism. We also have the capacity and credibility to take on communal forces,” he said.
“Did MIM contest the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. How did the BJP win? Today, ABVP swept Delhi University elections. Was our youth wing contesting there,” he asked.
The AIMIM chief urged his political opponents to stop blaming his party for their weakness and inefficiency.
Bihar will be the third state after Telangana and Maharashtra, where MIM will be contesting the assembly polls.
The party, which has its stronghold in Hyderabad, has one MP and seven members in the Telangana assembly. The party also made an impressive debut in last year’s Maharashtra elections by winning two seats out of the 26 it contested in the western state.