All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi seems to be facing troubled waters in the poll-bound state of West Bengal. Owaisi’s entry in the political scenario of the State has irked the head of West Bengal Imam Association, Mohammad Yahya. Yahya has made an appeal to the people of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ruled State not to vote for the AIMIM or any outfit backed by it.
Yahya questioned as to why AIMIM was contesting in Muslim-dominated areas
Taking a dig at Owaisi, Yahya on Tuesday accused him of playing the ‘politics of religion’ in the State. He said that Owaisi was not ‘Godfather’. “In Bengal, elections are not fought on the basis of religion. Owaisi’s emergence will not make any difference in Bengal because people here believe in development. He is not a Godfather that people would follow what he says”, said Yahya as quoted by ANI.
Yahya further said that the BJP and the AIMIM were indulging in religious polarisation in the State. “BJP is trying to divide Bengal, the same as AIMIM. The election is for everyone-not just for selective areas like Hindu dominated areas or Muslim dominated areas. Why does AIMIM want to contest election particularly in minority-dominated areas? Please do not ask for votes on the basis of religious practice”, he added.
Insinuating that the AIMIM was helping the BJP in the state, Yahya said that AIMIM comes to the rescue of the BJP wherever the latter faces a tough election. “Every vote to them is a vote for BJP. Why does a Hyderabadi politician become active in states only where BJP faces tough opposition in winning elections”, Times of India quoted Yahya as saying.
Muslim hardliners will benefit Hindutva
Yahya questioned Owaisi’s intentions and said that he could not be the face of Muslims in the State. “Where was Owaisi all these days? Suddenly he got reminded of Muslims in Bengal? When Bengalis were being driven out of Assam using NRC, where was Owaisi? Owaisi cannot be the face of Muslims in Bengal. Muslim hardliner will only give advantage to hardline Hindutva“, said Yahya as quoted by India Today.
A meeting of clerics was reportedly held in the state last week headed by Qari Fazlur Rahman, an influential spiritual leader among the Muslims in the State. During the meeting Rahman warned people against forces trying to target them for their religious beliefs and disturbing the peace. “People are free to vote for anybody they want and we don’t want to influence that decision. But do remember, this time the vote will not only decide the future of the state but of millions of people staying here. There are forces that want to disturb the peace and drive a wedge among people, sowing seeds of hatred. Many people may be targeted for their religious beliefs. We must arrive at a consensus and vote responsibly”, he said.
Last year in November, Owaisi had reportedly proposed a pre-poll alliance with the TMC ahead of the Assembly polls. Interestingly, the approach of CM Mamata Banerjee has not been very welcoming towards Owaisi and she had even called him an outsider.