Will continue to work in UP, says Owaisi

Hyderabad, (IANS): Asaduddin Owaisi, whose AIMIM failed to get a single seat in Uttar Pradesh, said on Saturday that it was a good start for the party and he would continue to work there to strengthen it.

Reacting to the results in Uttar Pradesh, where BJP stormed to power with a massive majority, he said there was a huge scope for his All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in that state.

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Stating that he respects the verdict, Owaisi thanked people who voted for his party, which contested 35 seats.

The Muslim leader said it was a bigger challenge for him to continue working to strengthen the party.

“The parties which call themselves secular had always said that Muslims have the responsibility of stopping the BJP. Now it is clear that this is the responsibility of all and not just Muslims,” he told reporters at Darussalam, the party headquarters here.

Owaisi said the results clearly showed that the Muslim vote bank is a myth and it never existed. “There was an allegation that I will cut the secular votes. I contested only 35 seats. There were 368 more seats. What happened there? How come the BJP won those seats?” he asked.

He claimed that in majority of the 35 seats it contested, AIMIM stopped BJP from winning them. He cited the example of Sambhal, where AIMIM candidate secured over 61,000 votes while SP’s winning candidate got 70,000 votes.

Admitting there were some shortfalls, he pointed out that his party contested the UP elections for the first time and it never set any target of winning seats. “The aim was to contest and strengthen the party. That work is done. We will continue our efforts as life is a struggle. We will work hard so that coming generations don’t have to suffer,” he said.

Stating that it was a good start for the party, he hoped that in the near future it will convert votes into seats.

Owaisi said it took 28 years for AIMIM to win the Hyderabad Parliamentary seat and once it won the seat, it continued the winning streak.

The AIMIM chief said he was sure that nearly 80-90 per cent Muslims in UP had not voted for BJP. “Despite that the BJP has won. The question is who is communal and who is secular over here. This question will really disturb secular parties now,” he said.

On BSP leader Mayawati’s demand for re-polling with ballot papers, Owaisi said the Election Commission should look into the issue raised by her and respond.