The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) failed to open its account in Bihar where it contested just six of the 243 seats, and also fared poorly in most constituencies.
Following an impressive debut in the Maharashtra assembly polls last year, the party led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi was hoping to bag a couple of seats in Bihar.
The MIM confined its fight to six seats in Seemanchal region, which elects 24 members to the assembly.
Among its six candidates, only Akhtarul Imaan, the president of the party’s Bihar unit, could give some fight in Kocha Daman.
Imaan polled 37,086 votes and finished second. Mujahid Alam of the Janata Dal-United won with 55,929 votes while Abdur Rahman of the BJP finished third (34,895 votes).
In Kishangunj, Taseeruddin of the MIM came third with 16,440 votes. Mohammad Jawaid of the Congress was elected with 66,522 votes. Sweety Singh of the BJP was runners-up (57,913 votes).
In Baisi, Ghulam Sarwar secured 16,723 votes and finished fourth. In Balrampur, Adil Hasan finished sixth with 6,375 votes.
The MIM, which fielded Amit Kumar, a Dailt, in Ranigunj polled just 1,669 votes. In Amour, Nawazish Alam polled only 1,955 votes.
MIM chief Owaisi, however, said he was not disappointed. He said the party had made a beginning in Bihar.
Owaisi attributed the defeat to paucity of time to campaign but vowed to continue efforts to strengthen the party in Bihar.
Hailing the victory of the Grand Alliance as a vote against communalism, the MIM chief said he had urged people to vote for secular parties in all constituencies where the MIM was not contesting.
The Hyderabad MP believes the poor showing in Bihar won’t impact on its prospects in Uttar Pradesh. It plans to contest by-elections to a couple of assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh before gearing up for the 2017 polls.
The MIM, which has one MP and seven seats in the Telangana assembly, last year bagged two assembly seats in Maharashtra, where it contested 25 seats.
The party also has a presence in municipal bodies in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Abdul Qadir, who teaches in Gaya-based Mirza Ghalib College, said Muslims preferred the secular Grand Alliance over Owaisi.
Muslims form 16.5 percent of Bihar’s 105 million population. In the Seemanchal region, they account for nearly 67 percent in Kishanganj, 37 percent in Purnea, 43 percent in Katihar and nearly 40 percent in Araria.
According to activist Arshad Ajmal, the dominant mood among the Muslims was to defeat the BJP-led NDA.
Mahender Yadav, who works among poor Muslims in Araria and Purnea, said Muslims refused to accept Owaisi. “For them, (Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar and (RJD leader) Lalu Prasad are their leader.”
Irshadul Haque, a Dalit Muslim activist, expressed happiness over this development.
“It is positive that Muslims supported the Grand Alliance instead of Owaisi’s party,” said Haque, who hails from East Champaran district.