Kickstarting his poll plunge in Gujarat on Sunday, ahead of the upcoming elections to the local bodies, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress over “rights to life and equality”.
He called for “unity” among the tribal, the Muslim and the Dalit communities ahead of the polls, and sought to project his party as the sole alternative to the saffron party and the grand old party.
What kind of unity is this, AIMIM chief asks BJP
Owaisi said, “On the one hand, the BJP government refused to implement the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution (dealing with administration and control of scheduled areas and Schedule Tribes) for tribals, but on the other hand, the government imposed the Disturbed Areas Act that prevents people from the Muslim community to either sell or purchase land and houses without the permission of the district collector… The Disturbed Areas Act is against the Constitution, and rights to life and equality.”
Citing a study by IIT-Roorkee, Owaisi said, “You (BJP government) constructed the Statue of Unity (in tribal-dominated Narmada district of Gujarat), but will you turn the unity of tribals into disunity? What kind of unity is this — to snatch their land, deprive them of water and destroy their culture?”
‘People of Gujarat want to fill a political vacuum’
Asserting that the BJP and the Congress are sort of “internally connected”, and that they cannot be separated, the AIMIM president said, “People of Gujarat want an alternative. We want to fill a political vacuum… The Congress took your (Muslim) votes, but their MLAs joined the BJP. They (Congress) remained a mute spectator during the 2002 communal riots (in Gujarat). Where was secularism of those who talked about it when the BJP won all the (26) Lok Sabha seats (in Gujarat in 2019 polls)?”
An alternative political platform
He said the alliance of the AIMIM and the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) could offer a strong “alternative political platform to the people who are fed up with the BJP and the Congress in Gujarat”. Indicating that the AIMIM and the BTP would join hands in Rajasthan too, he said, “If you want liberty, freedom, equality, justice etc., then you will have to decide your own fate, which you can do by becoming a political power, and you can become a political force by choosing your leaders, who will be your own people who will go to the Assembly without fearing PM Narendra Modi or the Congress.”
During his political meet in Bharuch, Owaisi also said, “If the Congress and others were good, then Owaisi wouldn’t have come here from Hyderabad. They’re afraid of Modi and RSS because they don’t fear God, but only love their lives. They’re afraid of death. AIMIM members only fear God, no human being.”
“AIMIM is accused of being a political conspirator. I say accusers are conspirators themselves. They want to counter Hindu nationalism with Hindu nationalism. We want to confront Hindutva with the Constitution, with Indian nationalism,” the AIMIM chief said during his rally in Ahmedabad.
‘PM should invite farmers, offer tea to them at his house’
In a direct attack over the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three controversial farm laws, Owaisi asked PM Modi to “invite protesting farmers to his residence like he had hosted the then US President Barack Obama, and repeal the new farm laws”.
“The way the farmers are being treated is not right. It is wrong. The Prime Minister should invite the farmers to his residence like he had offered tea to (then US President) Barack Obama with his own hand (in 2015), which is fine as he was our guest. We expect the PM to invite the farmers, offer them tea and biscuits and tell them the (agriculture marketing) laws are being repealed, and that they should be happy,” Owaisi said.
The Owaisi-led AIMIM is contesting maiden polls in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Bharuch, in alliance with the BTP.
(With inputs from agencies)