It seems that AIMIMs victory in Bihar is indigestible to many. It should not be as political parties’ existence relies only on elections.
The AIMIMs five seats in Bihar are, so far, their biggest achievement outside Telangana. Like other political parties, its candidates and volunteers gave their best to win in Bihar. Eventually, the result of the election came and the participants got the payoff for their hard work.
Now, if there is any debate, it should be on the performances of each party instead of “who is secular?” and “who is communal?” because everyone is naked in the bathroom. People already knew this when they were casting their valuable votes.
The AIMIM is a political party and has all the rights to contest election in India unless the Election Commission disqualifies it from this process. The party is facing an allegation that it has proven to be a vote slasher for the “secular parties” and resulted in communal parties winning the election. Even if this claim is true, no law stops them from participating in the election.
Asaduddin Owaisi is not accountable to anyone for this. Should a party not be given access to elections on mere allegations of being a vote slasher? If it is so, then the LJP in Bihar should be the first one punished as it claims a healthy proportion of vote share of the JDU.
Indeed, AIMIM relies heavily on Muslims in terms of candidature and vote bank which makes secular parties critical and sometimes abusive against them. These parties must introspect for a reality check as many of them are already representing different castes. For instance, the single largest party of Bihar, the RJD, represents mainly Yadavs.
It is not wrong if parties are representatives of different sections because that is how regional parties have evolved in India. These parties became the carrier of regional demands to the Centre, which prevented India from a further nightmare of a partition and kept it intact.
It is also true that AIMIM had placed its candidates in the constituencies with a sizeable Muslim population. As far as election strategy is concerned, it is the smartest way to win the election. It is very common for political parties to do this. This why PM Modi travelled from Gujarat to Varanasi and Rahul Gandhi had to move to Wayanad, Kerala.
But the good thing about the AIMIM is that it has not declared itself a party exclusively for Muslims and is in alliance with secular parties too. Its candidates do not make hate speeches against Hindus while contesting from Muslim dominated constituencies, neither do they appeal for votes exclusively from Muslims. Unlike the BJP leaders, they are not heard threatening non-Muslims for the consequences of their victory. What secular parties should do is to accept AIMIM as a friend, not a foe.
Owaisi is often misnomered as Jinnah by his political rivals, which is absurd. The reason Jinnah is disliked by India is the partition, and perhaps for no other reason. Owaisi, on the other hand, is just trying to empower Muslims politically so that they can demand their socio-economic dues, which secular parties have failed to deliver.
A justifiable comparison of him should be with Bhimrao Ambedkar, whom Owaisi himself admires. Like Ambedkar, he is also a part of subaltern voices in India. As reports suggest, Dalits and Muslims are among the most marginalised communities. Their voices should not be marginalised. For this, if they are looking for a leader in Owaisi, people should welcome it. And if Owaisi fails to meet their expectations they will certainly find someone else.
Firstly, not all Muslims hold and support the view that Owaisi is a Messiah for their community. A Messiah, though, is above elections and political power to perform his duties. But if a section believes him to be so it is because of his fearless attack in speeches over the BJP and RSS, whom many Muslims consider an enemy.
They believe there is someone in the Parliament who is most vocal about Muslims’ demands, who dares to tear apart a bill not in favour of them. This attitude of his is so promising that people are convinced. And no wonder his party’s reach is increasing day by day.
It should be clear that he, like others, is a pure politician. Any claim of Messiah, either by him or any of his party members is mere propaganda. By the way, he never made any such declarations.
If so-called secular parties envy Owaisi for his incremental but noticeable growth then it is karma because to overcome majoritarian politics they neglected the aspirations of minorities and gave a chance to them to find a possible alternative.