When he takes the stage on Thursday to address his gathering of “poor and downtrodden” in Faizabad for the February 13 Bikapur bypoll, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, whose party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is planning to stake a huge claim in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls of 2017, will bank on creating a “Dalit-Muslim vote bank”.
Significantly, this is the first time Owaisi has been given permission to hold a rally in UP.
“My focus will be on Samajwadi Party which has betrayed both Dalits and Muslims,” the AIMIM chief said.
Owaisi’s party had made its agenda clear when it declared Pradeep Kumar Kori, a Dalit, as its Bikapur candidate for the upcoming bypolls. (Polling will also be held in Saharanpur’s Deoband and in Muzaffarnagar on the same day). When asked about fielding a Dalit candidate from a general seat, the MP said: “Dr Ambedkar had full support of Muslims when he contested elections. Both sections have been deprived of their rights. The Samajwadi Party gave riots to Muslims and is now silent on the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula (of Hyderabad University) and other Dalit issues,” he said. Owaisi also criticised the BJP, which, he said, “claims itself to be the champion of Dalits just because it organises programmes and praises Dr Ambedkar”.