Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Monday, September 21, 2015

Analysis: Asad Owaisi's AIMIM Stirs Up A Hornet's Nest


The decision of All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to enter the Assembly poll fray in Bihar, albeit on a limited scale, has stirred up the hornet's nest. More than the political parties, the media appears to be perturbed and upset by AIMIM's move. TV channels and print media unleashed the propaganda that AIMIM's entry would help BJP at the cost of the Grand Alliance of “secular parties."

Unfounded accusations have been hurled at AIMIM's leadership.The obit of “secular parties“ is dished out even before the five-phased polls get going and AIMIM is dubbed a spoiler for the Grand Alliance. However, it would be premature to predict the outcome before the votes are cast.

Political observers and media analysts alike have opted to take a myopic view, forgetting the recent political history of Bihar. Regional parties--JD, RJD and JD(U)--have ruled Bihar for almost 25 years in a row, with the two national parties--Congress and BJP-playing second fiddle to them. Some smaller players like LJP have turned opportunistic at successive elections by jumping onto the bandwagon of prospective winners.They have no qualms aligning with Congress, BJP or main regional outfits to suit their interests. Sharing the spoils of power is all that matters to them.

After 15 years in power, Lalu Prasad suffered anti-incumbency . Nitish Kumar also faces similar sentiment after a decade at the helm of affairs. Samata Party of George Fernandes and the JD(U) under Nitish Kumar helped BJP to grow from strength to strength in Bihar by keeping an alliance with the saffron party for an uninterrupted 17 years. They fought successive general elections to Lok Sabha and Assembly together during 1996-2010. In June 2013, Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP even as Narendra Modi was projected as campaign committee chief (and PM-candidate).

JD(U) went all alone in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, barring a tie-up with CPI in two Lok Sabha constituencies. RJD cobbled up an alliance with Congress and NCP . BJP not only wooed back Ram Vilas Paswan but also found a new ally in Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP). No wonder, Lok Sabha outcome in Bihar was on predictable lines with the “secular parties“ indulging in bitter fratricidal contests and splitting their own votes, much to the relief of BJP alliance which walked away with 31 seats out of the 40 in the State.

RJDCongress-NCP combine got only 7 seats while JD(U) could win only two seats. BJP alliance turned the tables on RJD and JD(U) allies even after polling just 39.41 percent of the total valid votes. RJD combine polled 30.24 percent of the votes and JD(U)+CPI managed to get 17.21 percent of the votes. It is apparent that if RJD and JD (U) and their allies had put up a united fight against the BJP by sharing the seats among themselves, they would have polled 47.45 percent of total valid votes and bagged as many as 28 Lok Sabha seats, instead of only 9 seats which they could win due to splitting of their votes to the benefit of BJP alliance. 

Meaning, if RJD and JD(U) had entered into alliance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls,tally of BJP combine would have been restricted to merely 12 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar. Thus, by dividing the votes , RJD and JD(U) and allies helped BJP alliance to virtually sweep the polls.This is also apparent from an analysis of assembly-segment-wise leads secured by candidates in Lok Sabha fray .BJP and allies secured leads in as many as 175 assembly segments, whereas RJD combine could secure leads in 50 segments and JD(U) alli ance could get leads in only 18 segments, out of 243 assembly segments in Bihar. 

However, if RJD and JD (U) allies had stitched up an alliance to contest together, they would have secured leads in 170 assembly segments and BJP combine would have been relegated to leads in only 73 assembly segments. Emboldened by their success in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP and allies have launched “Mission 175“ to win 175 Assembly seats in the 243member house in the ensuing assembly polls. 

The BJP and allies have been working tirelessly in these assembly segments where their candidates had secured majorities in Lok Sabha elections in 2014. BJP has consolidated its gains by roping in Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM(S). Narendra Modi's Rs 1.25lakh-crore package may not inspire voters but the caste matrix propped up by Sangh Parivar may ensure that any gains for RJD, JD(U) and Congress from their secular alliance are neutralised. The counting of votes on 8th November will clear the air.
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