The results of the keenly contested Bihar Assembly elections are out and the writing on the wall is clear.
As per latest figures, JD-U+ is leading on 155 seats, while BJP+ is leading on 77 seats. Bihar has rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its allies, while giving a majority to the Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Congress.
However, one key narrative emerging from these polls is how the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has been unable to leave a mark on these elections. Fighting polls on six seats in the state’s Seemanchal region, as per latest figures, their best performance comes from Kocha Daman constituency, where they are trailing second after a JD-U candidate.
The party’s Bihar unit president Akhtarul Imaan is contesting from the constituency. In the other five seats of Kishangunj, Rani Gunj, Baisi, Amour, and Balrampur, they are not even on the second position, while counting is still on.
This effectively means that AIMIM’s brand of Muslim politics espoused by its chief Asad-ud-din Owaisi, has failed to take off in Bihar. Owaisi stands for Muslims determining their own fate by contesting elections, instead of depending on ‘so-called’ secular parties like the Congress, RJD, and JD-U. He feels that Muslims have long been cheated by all political parties, and it was time that they determined that their own fate.
Educated, suave, rich and articulate, he had emerged as the ideal modern Muslim man, who could inspire the community. So far, his appeal has found response in Hyderabad, and Mahasrashtra. But Bihar has stuck to its old ways of voting, and rejected attempts by anyone from outside the state to find a toehold.
In a way, this is also a rejection of communal politics. Not just the AIMIM, the BJP’s ‘beef politics’ too has been trumped by the caste coalitions forged by Nitish and Lalu. It is will be interesting to watch how AIMIM emerges from this and whether it attempts any course correction, before its tries its luck in Uttar Pradesh.