HYDERABAD: After making a successful debut in last year's Maharashtra Assembly polls, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is set to test electoral waters in Bihar, adding another dimension in the high-stake political fight in the key northern State.
The Hyderabad-based outfit today said it will field candidates in mainly Seemanchal region, which has a significant Muslim population, the party's core vote base.
AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi said instead of contesting all the 243 seats, his party will limit itself to Seemanchal which comprises four districts - Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar.
"We are limited to Seemanchal area of Bihar. We are realistic about our chances of winning. We know our strengths and weaknesses. It is in the interest and justice of Seemanchal region that we are contesting elections there," the firebrand AIMIM leader said without disclosing the number of seats his party will contest. The region accounts for two dozen Assembly seats.
Bihar will have a five-phase election starting October 12 and the outcome of the keenly-awaited contest is likely to have a bearing on the BJP-led Government at the Centre and also the Opposition parties ranged against it.
Owaisi, however, dispelled the notion that his party's entry into the poll arena will cause a division of votes.
"Did I contest in Delhi elections? Did I contest in J&K elections. Did I contest in municipal elections of Rajasthan?
This is a wrong allegation which has no relevance. So-called secular parties have lost their credibility," he said.
The lone MP of the party from Hyderabad replied in the negative when asked if AIMIM will forge any pre-poll alliance.
"Bihar's development parameters are bad. But when it comes to Seemanchal it is worse. That's why we want the Government to set up a regional developmental council under Article 371 of the Constitution," he said.
He blamed Congress, BJP and JD(U), among others, for the "underdevelopment" of Seemanchal.
The Bihar poll scene is largely dominated by two blocs - BJP-led NDA and JDU-RJD-Congress' 'secular' grand alliance.
Besides the saffron outfit, the NDA comprises former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha, RSLP of Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and Ramvilas Paswan-led LJP.
Spreading its wings outside Hyderabad last year, AIMIM had put a stellar performance in Maharashtra, where it won two Assembly seats in October last year.
The party has appointed Akhtar Imam as President of its Bihar unit. AIMIM has seven Assembly seats in Telangana.