Congress Accuses Owaisi of Cutting Into Muslim Vote of Secular Parties; What Do Numbers Say?

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A scene from a polling station in the just concluded Bihar elections.

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has surprised everyone by bagging five seats in the just-concluded legislative assembly elections in Bihar even as the Congress accused the party of cutting into the Muslim votes to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Tuesday, when the results started trickling in, Owaisi’s party appeared leading in five of the 20 seats it contested, mainly in the Seemanchal region, and eventually won them.

Despite all the exit poll predictions and expectations, the alliance of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal has been unable to cross the halfway mark. Struggling to find what went wrong, many frustrated Congress leaders were quick to blame it on AIMIM: “Owaisi is a vote cutter”.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tweeted that the BJP’s strategy of using Owaisi’s party in the Bihar elections had succeeded to an extent. “All secular parties should be alert about vote-cutter Owaisi Sahab”.

The Congress seemed to have assumed that by joining the poll fray, AIMIM took away its traditional Muslim vote share and hence the Grand Old Party lost several seats and could not cross the victory line.

However, a quick scan of the statistical data questions the Congress claims. AIMIM fought in 20 constituencies and won five of them. The alliance of the RJD, Congress, Left parties and smaller parties managed to win in nine of the 20 constituencies with six seats going to NDA–BJP won three, JDU two and VIP one.

SEATS WON BY AIMIM

S No.. Constituency
AIMIM
1 Jokihat 59596
2 Kochadhaman 79893
3 Baisi 68416
4 Bahadurganj 85855
5 Amour 94459

 

Of these six seats, only one seat (Raniganj, marked red in the table below) is such where 2,412 votes that went to Roshan Devi of AIMIM might have made the difference and  RJD’s Avinash Manglam emerged victorious.

Seats: AIMIM Lost and MGB Won

S No. Constituency
AIMIM
MGB 
1 Shergahati 14987 RJD- 61804
2 Phulwari 5019 CPIML-91124
3 Araria 8924 INC-103054
4 Sahebpur Kamal 7889 RJD- 64888
5 Kasba 5316 INC-77410
6 Kishanganj 41904 INC-61078
7 Manihari 2475 INC-83032
8 Sikta 8519 CPIML-49075
9 Thakurganj 18925 RJD-79909

 

The AIMIM votes in constituencies of Pranpur and Barari would have only helped to narrow the gap for the losing Mahagathbandhan candidates. In the rest of the three constituencies, the numerical gap of loss ranges in the tens of thousands.

For instance, in Narpatganj where BJP candidates bagged over 98,397, the congress garnered only 54,350. Add to this AIMIM’s 5,495 votes but still Sonia Gandhi’s party would have been 39,453 short of emerging triumphant.

Seats: Both AIMIM and MGB Lost

S No Constituency AIMIM Winner MGB AIMIM+MGB
Barari 6598 JDU-81752 Lose ./RJD- (71314) 77912
1 Pranpur 508 BJP-79974 Lose/INC- (77002) 77510
2 Narpatganj 5495 BJP-98397 Lose/ INC- (54350) 58945
3 Chhatapur 1990 BJP-93755 Lose /RJD- (73120) 75110
4 Sahebganj 4055 VIP-81036 Lose/RJD- (65870) 69925
5 Raniganj 2412 JDU-81901 Lose/ RJD- (79597) 82009 

 

Bar chart of the overall performance of AIMIM on 20 seats:

On Tuesday, when Congress leader Pawan Khera accused Owaisi of being a partner of the right-wing during a TV debate, the AIMIM chief shot back, saying he would not “prostrate in front of the Congress, and reminded Khera of the past incidents while accusing the Congress of betraying secularism with its soft Hindutva, and its stance on other issues.

 

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