Owaisi's AIMIM may jump into UP panchayat poll fray

By Express News Service
LUCKNOW:  In its quest to become a national party, the Asaduddin Owaisi- led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is likely to contest the panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh under an electoral pact with the regional outfit Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).

The Hyderabad-headquartered party is looking to expand its footprint after its success in Bihar where it had fielded 20 candidates and won in five constituencies. Owaisi had recently visited poll-bound West Bengal.

The Bengal Imam Association had lashed out at Owaisi accusing him of creating a communal divide in the eastern state. In December, Owaisi had announced his plan contest the next state elections in Uttar Pradesh as part of the front led by the SBSP. Former UP minister Om Prakash Rajbhar of the SBSP is trying to form a rainbow coalition of like-minded parties under the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha for the election.

“Candidates belonging to Asaduddin Owaisi’s party are likely to be fielded in the panchayat elect ions as the Morcha’s joint candidate,” Rajbhar said, adding the Morcha constituents will hold meetings at all the 75 district headquarters on January 17.

“A joint rally will be organised which will be addressed by Owaisi as well as other leaders of the front.” Uttar Pradesh has a total of 58,758 gram panchayats and as many panchayat heads. The five-year tenure of 58,660 gram panchayats, ended on December 25.

AIMIM leader looking to expand his baseGoing by various reports, Owaisi has set his eyes on Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh,  Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. In November, Owaisi had announced that his party will contest the polls in Tamil Nadu