Owaisi’s party to contest UP panchayat polls

Ballia (UP): The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) is likely to contest the upcoming panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh under an electoral pact with regional outfit Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).

The SBSP, headed by former UP minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, is garnering smaller and regional parties under the Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha.

“Candidates belonging to Asaduddin Owaisi‘s party are likely to be fielded in the panchayat elections as the Morcha’s joint candidate,” Rajbhar told reporters here on Wednesday.

He said the nine constituents of the Morcha will hold meetings at all the 75 district headquarters of the state on January 17.

“After this, a joint rally of the Morcha will be organised. It will be addressed by Owaisi as well as other leaders of the front,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh has a total of 58,758 ”gram panchayats” and as many panchayat heads.

As per a state government notification, the five-year tenure of 58,660 ”gram panchayats”, barring 88 of Gautam Budh Nagar and 10 of Gonda districts, where gram panchayat elections were held later, ended on December 25.

Asked about the Morcha’s stand for the upcoming UP Legislative Council polls, Rajbhar said, “The SBSP will not support the BJP.”

The SBSP was part of the BJP-led NDA in the state when Rajbhar was a minister till he parted ways with the saffron party following differences with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

At present, the SBSP has four MLAs in the 403-member UP Legislative Assembly.

Biennial elections to 12 legislative council seats in Uttar Pradesh will be held on January 28.

Making light of Rajbhar, UP minister Sriram Chauhan told reporters later that the BJP will gain if Owaisi contests polls in UP.

“Asaduddin Owaisi has no poll issues and if he contests the elections, then the votes will get divided, thereby benefiting the BJP,” he said here.

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