AIMIM’s West Bengal unit leader Anwar Pasha with some of his colleagues joined Trinamool Congress on Monday, claiming Asaduddin Owaisi-led party was only acting as a “polariser of votes” to help the BJP.
The AIMIM, however, claimed, Pasha was just a “party worker”, and the TMC leadership was trying to fool the masses.
Alleging that a section of people is trying to take the country towards destruction using religion, Pasha said those who are eyeing Bengal at present, whether “wearing saffron or green”, should know that there is no place for such division in this state.
“AIMIM had a hand in polarisation of votes in Bihar and thus helping BJP in forming a government there, but this will not happen in Bengal,” he said.
Pasha, who was welcomed to the TMC fold by ministers Bratya Basu and Moloy Ghatak, said the Muslims form 30 per cent of West Bengal’s population, and asserted that the political developments in Bihar cannot be emulated in this state.
Urging the Muslims in the state to stand by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said AIMIM chief Owaisi should not come to Bengal.
Owaisi had said on Sunday that the party is deliberating with the West Bengal unit over contesting the assembly elections and will take a decision on getting feedback from them.
Pasha said that fear was being created in the minds of minorities over CAA and NRC and the West Bengal chief minister “is fighting for us and has taken to the streets to support us”.
“Making a law in Parliament is not the end, it has to be implemented on the ground,” he said.
Senior AIMIM leader and in-charge of Bengal, Asim Waqar, declined to attach much importance to the development and urged the TMC not to fool the masses with their “dirty tricks”.
“Those who have joined the TMC today are neither leaders nor office bearers of the state AIMIM unit. They are just party workers, just like lakhs of AIMIM workers across the state. The TMC should stop pursuing such dirty tricks. Their joining would not have any impact on our prospects in Bengal,” Waqar said.
Reacting to the development, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said there was no surprise in their crossing over to the TMC. “It is natural that AIMIM workers will join the TMC. They have found their true calling in the TMC. Both parties are communal. They are not interested in the development of the masses but in appeasement politics,” Ghosh told reporters.
The parties in West Bengal are apprehensive that political equations in the state are set to witness significant changes as the sway of non-BJP parties over minorities, a critical factor in several seats, in all likelihood will see a stiff challenge with Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM announcing that it will contest Bengal assembly polls.
A deciding factor in nearly 100-110 seats in the state, minorities especially the 30 per cent Muslims, have acted as a bulwark of the TMC against its rivals, with most of them voting in favour of the party, considering it to be a “credible” force that can resist saffron surge.
But, AIMIM’s decision to fight the assembly polls is likely to upset the equations.
The AIMIM has made deep inroads in minority-dominated districts of Malda, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur and South 24 Parganas. All the five districts comprise of more than sixty assembly seats.
Incidentally except for the South 24 Parganas all the remaining four districts are bordering Bihar, where the party has won five assembly seats and ate into the Muslims vote share of the RJD-led Grand Alliance.
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are due in April-May next year.