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Assembly polls 2021: Can Owaisi do a Bihar in West Bengal?

Following AIMIM's surprisingly good show in Bihar Assembly elections, where it won 5 seats, followed by a decent performance in the Gujarat Municipal polls, the party is aiming for a foray into West Bengal politics. On its radar, Urdu-speaking Muslims of West Bengal, who form about 10 per cent of the state's Muslim population. While Owaisi's first poll rally in minority-dominated Metiabruz near Kolkata had to be scrapped as cops denied permission, for AIMIM, this is nothing more than a minor roadblock. AIMIM's entry into West Bengal politics may compound the woes of the Trinamool Congress as the support of Muslim voters will be crucial if the ruling party is to retain power, overcoming the challenge posed by an aggressive BJP. Mamata Banerjee has cultivated her minority vote bank with schemes like stipends for imams and scholarships for Muslim students. However, with the BJP pushing a strident Hindutva agenda and the likes of Owaisi vying for Muslim votes, it may not be an easy hat-trick for Mamata Banerjee.

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