EC Editorial

If All India Majlis Ittihadul Muslimin (AIMIM) decides to contest election from all seats where Muslims are a deciding factor in West Bengal (WB) for the first time, then we will have genuine doubts about its sincerity with regard to India and Muslims. Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi needs to understand that he is not and he cannot be the only leader in India by any means. He is and he will remain one of the strong and most eloquent Muslim leaders in present time polity of India.

Muslim youth love him and some consider him a brave and daring leader. Some even see a hope in him.

However, he, surely, needs to protect his personality without bowing down before the powers that be and not coming under any secret deal with the anti-Muslim political power houses. This allegation has been with him ever since he decided to go on a big scale in UP and Bihar elections, where, nevertheless, he couldn't make much impact on the outcome.

On the contrary, in the recently concluded election in Maharashtra it was a disastrous miscalculation by the MIM where it offered more to the BJP than it gave anything to Muslims or the nation. The same blunder must not be committed by the party in WB again where win or defeat margins will be too narrow this time between TMC and BJP.

Despite this ground reality, it is a fact that Owaisi is ambitious. Some people insist that AIMIM should concentrate only on Telengana, where he has strong grass roots support. They also say that Owaisi's party is spreading itself a bit thin, although it won only two seats in Aurangabad and Malegaon.

Seeing him an emerging rival, Mamta Banerjee of West Bengal has openly attacked him. Mamata Banerjee had claimed that the leaders visiting the state from Hyderabad with money bags and claiming to be sympathizers of Muslims were the "biggest allies and agents" of the BJP.

"Don't trust leaders who come from outside and try to present themselves as your (Muslim's) sympathizers. Only leaders from Bengal can fight for your cause. Those who are visiting from Hyderabad with money bags and are claiming to be Muslim leaders are the biggest allies of BJP," she said.

"They (political leaders from Hyderabad) can never protect and fight for the cause of Muslims because they are the biggest agents of BJP," Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting at Sagardighi in Murshidabad, a Muslim majority district on the borders of Bangladesh, recently.

But it is also a fact that Owaisi has emerged as strong Muslim voice in and outside parliament. Some Muslim youth see him as representing their views forcefully in an atmosphere of polarization where the voice of the minority community is hardly heard in the corridors of power. Some Muslim youth consider Owaisi brothers from the old city of Hyderabad speak eye to eye with Prime Minister Modi. Thus they find a match for Modi-Shah in Owaisis.

Now the question arises is, whether Owaisi is aiming too high while trying to be a mass leader of the Muslims by deciding to contest upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal?

A party does not gain electoral success by being imposed from outside. Without grass roots workers in WB it is well nigh impossible for his party to make a mark in the very crucial assembly elections there.

He should bear in mind that although Muslims constitute 25 per cent of the voters in WB, triangular fights among Muslim leaders themselves will enable BJP to slip past the electoral posts and this is what BJP is looking for in WB.

The impact of Asaduddin Owaisi in the arena will be known only after the WB Assembly results; if it really jumps in the ring in a big way, but make no mistake, this will expose him without doubt and cause a permanent trust deficit among Muslims in India. No one can fool all the people all the time, is a universal truth, and we are sure Mr. Owaisi does understand it too.