Addressing the public on January 30, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi lashed out at West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Congress party for calling him the "B team" of the BJP. Slamming the Congress as the "band-baaja party", Owaisi asked if they can only talk about this issue? He declared that he belongs to the public and asserted that it is his right to contest from anywhere he wants.
"After we announced to contest Bengal polls, the band-baaja party which was once known as Congress started saying that we're B team (of BJP). Mamata Banerjee also began saying things. Am I only one they can talk about? I belong to nobody but public," Asaduddin Owaisi said.
His reaction comes after West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM would not be a factor in the upcoming assembly polls in the state as its role as "B team of the BJP" has been exposed in the Bihar elections. During a core committee meeting of Murshidabad, a Muslim-dominated district, Banerjee urged party leaders to put up a united fight against the BJP and the other divisive forces.
West Bengal Assembly elections
After expressing his intention to contest in Bengal polls, Owaisi had met influential Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui and announced that he will contest the assembly polls in alliance with him. In a key development days after this meeting, Siddiqui announced the formation of a new political party that will be a platform for Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis residing in West Bengal.
Taking a dig at Owaisi after his meeting with Abbas Siddiqui, Mohammed Yahiya- the chairman of the Bengal Imams' Association stated that their community does not need any Muslim leader from outside West Bengal. Disapproving of religious fanaticism, he added that they will not allow the division of Muslim votes in the state. Thereafter, the AIMIM president countered this charge citing that the "undivided vote" of Muslims had not fetched any dividends for the community for over 70 years.
Asaduddinn Owaisi's AIMIM won 5 seats in Bihar out of the 20 he contested. However, when he was termed as B-team of BJP, he slammed the Congress and gave proof. He said that out of the 20 seats AIMIM contested, they won 5 while NDA and Mahagatbandhan had won 6 and 9 seats respectively. Owaisi pointed out that NDA's victory margin on the seats that it won- Sahebganj, Chhatarpur, Narpatganj, Pranpur, Barari, and Raniganj - was more than the votes secured by his party. Thus, NDA would have won from the aforesaid constituencies even if the AIMIM candidate was not in the fray, he explained.
Meanwhile, AIMIM has declared its first candidate - Dr Abdul Manan - for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh polls. Manan - an eye surgeon by profession - has been fielded by AIMIM for the Utarauli Vidhan Sabha seat in the Balrampur district. Manan had joined AIMIM after leaving the Peace party. The state's next elections will be held in the month of February-March 2022. On 16 December, AIMIM chief Asadudding Owaisi met Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar in Lucknow to stitch an alliance for the 2022 UP polls.
The BJP has claimed it'll win 200 seats, while the Trinamool, via Prashant Kishor has contended that the saffron party won't cross 99. West Bengal assembly with 294 seats will go to polls in April-May 2021, Trinamool holds 222 seats. BJP has made major inroads in the state in the Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and establishing itself as the major opposition force in the state. Mamata Banerjee has announced that she will contest polls from Nandigram, the place that paved way for her rule in the state, and her ex-aide Suvendu Adhikari - who is now in BJP - has vowed to defeat her.