While the battle for West Bengal this election cycle is mostly between BJP and TMC, there are a couple of other smaller parties that are vying for their electoral share as well. One of those parties that is trying to capture some ground in Bengal is AIMIM, the party of Asaduddin Owaisi.
Recently, Mamata Banerjee has been trying her best to assert her long-lost Hindu identity, in a bid to whitewash her ‘Muslim appeasement’ image. To that end, Mamata Banerjee today said in Cooch Behar, “A person came to Bengal from Hyderabad, he took money from BJP. Don’t allow him here”.
Mamata Banerjee was insinuating that Asaduddin Owaisi, who is predominantly from Hyderabad is on the payrolls of BJP since he is Bengal to divide the Muslim vote.
Owaisi took to Twitter today to hit back at Mamata Banerjee’s comment. Invoking the Gujarat riots of 2002 yet again, Owaisi said that at that time, Mamata had voted against a motion to condemn Gujarat ‘pogrom’ of Muslims. He asked if Mamata Banerjee did this for free, for a price or for a ministerial position.
He further said, “Only criminal gangs divide up territories between themselves & attack each other when someone enters. Since I’m not part of this criminal syndicate, it’s natural that Mamata Banerjee is rattled. You can’t buy people who have no Gotra. You can’t scare people who know no fear”.
This comment was in response to Mamata Banerjee playing her Hindu card while campaigning in Nandigram. Mamata said when she visited a temple, the priest asked her about her gotra. “I told him ‘Maa Maati Manush’. That reminded me of my visit to Tripureshwari temple where too the priest had asked my gotra and I told him ‘Maa Mati Manush’,” she said, adding that “actually I am Shandilya”.
The comment had created quite a storm with BJP and Owaisi both slamming Mamata for different reasons. While BJP called Mamata a seasonal Hindu, Owaisi had said that there is a race between candidates to prove who is more Hindu.
However, the current comment by Owaisi seems to have far more communal undertones than Mamata Banerjee trying to prove that she is a bigger Hindu than PM Modi.
When Owaisi said that “You can’t buy people who have no Gotra”, it was a clear allusion to his religion vs the supposed religion of Mamata Banerjee. Considering all Hindus do have a Gotra, when Owaisi says that “you can’t buy people who have no Gotra”, it would appear that Owaisi is saying that while Hindus are ‘up for sale’, ‘honourable’ Muslims are now.
This observation was made by several people on Social Media as well.
"You can't buy people who have no Gotra."— VatsRohit (@KesariDhwaj) April 2, 2021
Hindus – > Up for sale
Muslims – > honorable
More things change, more they remain the same! https://t.co/yX44aIuv7E
Interestingly, while Owaisi had slammed Mamata for being ‘communal’ in trying to prove her Hindu credentials, Owaisi himself is seen here making a wildly communal statement that has Hinduphobic undertones.
Asaduddin Owaisi and his party’s hate for Hindus, however, is not unknown. Only recently, days after the violent clash between the Hindu and Muslim community in Bhainsa in the Nirmal district of Telangana, the police had arrested 22 people, including one sitting AIMIM councillor. As per reports, the unnamed AIMIM leader has been charged with an attempt to murder and armed riot.
Back in 2020, controversial AIMIM leader and former Maharasthra MLA Waris Pathan was seen inciting Muslims at an anti-CAA rally in Gulbarga, Karnataka, in the presence of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on February 16. In a veiled threat to the Hindus, Pathan resorted to inciting Muslims by stating that the time had come for the Muslims of the country to unite and ‘achieve freedom’. He added that even though Muslims are just 15 crores in the country, they can still dominate over 100 crore Hindus.
Evidently, while Owaisi blames every other politician for being ‘communal’ for trying to prove their Hindu credentials, he seems to believe that his own anti-Hindu statements and the actions by his party members are a shining example of the famed Congress brand of ‘secularism’.