Riding on the maiden victory of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidates in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections on Tuesday, the leader of the political outfit, Asaduddin Owaisi, while addressing political gatherings at Godhra and Modasa, pointed out how the development in Gujarat is lopsided and does not touch Muslim-dominated areas.
“You all know that in Godhra, no development works have been carried out in areas that have Muslim majority. There is a railway line passing through the city. On one side of this railway line, ‘Sabka ka Saath, sabka Vikas’ can be seen. On the other side, where topi and burkas can be seen, there is no Vikas (development),” said Owaisi in Godhra town.
“What is the reason that trains like Garib Rath and August Kranti do not stop at Godhra railway station? These trains stop at Dahod though. If Godhra had a large Muslim population, then doesn’t it also have Hindus brothers? The BJP government wants Dahod to develop… what kind of justice is this,” he added.
He said there were 20 secondary schools in Godhra city of which, only three were in Muslim areas. He said the dropout rate among school going Muslim girls were as high as 80 per cent due to lack of Urdu medium schools. “Modiji then says, Beti Bachao, Desh Bachao. How will daughters be saved, if there are no urdu schools for them…,” he added.
On Tuesday, AlMIM won about seven seats in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), winning all seats in Jamalpur ward and three seats in Maktampura ward. The party had fielded 21 candidates for the AMC. Thanking the voters, Owaisi said, “If people sitting in power in AMC think that they will continue to ignore Muslim areas like they did in the past, then I would like to tell that that so far you were engaged in a friendly duel with Congress or independents. Now now we will fight (for development).”
In the upcoming elections, BJP is contesting in 24 of the 44 seats in Godhra municipality. Traditionally, BJP has been putting up candidates in only six wards of the municipality where Hindus are in a majority. On the other five wards, Muslim candidates have been winning largely as independents.
In the 2015 local body polls in Godhra municipality, BJP won 18 seats, Congress won one seat and remaining 25 seats were won by independents. Eight candidates of AIMIM will fight the Godhra municipality polls on February 28. The party has fielded candidates in Godhra, Modasa and Bharuch municipalities.
Earlier in the day in Modasa, Owaisi invoked the 2008 bomb blast case that claimed one life and said that people “reply to the oppressors” in the upcoming elections. The AIMIM has fielded 12 candidates in three wards of Modasa municipality.
“Do you know what happened on September 29, 2008 in Modasa,” Owaisi asked as crowd responded saying “bomb blast”. “Among the deceased was a 15-year-old boy named Jamal Ab Din Ghouri… a blast occurred near a mosque during Ramzan month in Modasa in which seven were martyred and over 100 were injured (referring to both Malegon and Modasa blasts cases ). I want to ask the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh people… I want to ask the cowards of Congress whether they will ever speak of Jamal,” asked Owaisi claiming, till date the people responsible for the blast were not brought to book.
“The families of the deceased persons in the blast still don’t know who killed their loved ones. I appeal to my mothers and sisters that we will not let another Jamal to die in Modasa… Human life has a value be it a Hindu, Muslim or tribal… it has been granted to us in the Constitution by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” said Owaisi.
Referring to the protests in Modasa in January 2020 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), Owaisi said, “I want to congratulate the people of Modasa for the manner in which they protested against the CAA, NRC and NPR… I spoke up in the Parliament against 306 MPs of the BJP saying that if they will bring the CAA, then we will protest. We, too, have the right to live without fear (sic).”
Attacking the Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party president Arvind Kejriwal in his 30-minute address, Owaisi said, “There is a guy who has come to Gujarat with a bundle of brooms… when riots were taking place in Delhi, when Hindus and Muslims were killing each other, he went to Gandhi samadhi and sat over there… This guy kept quiet even when the Tablighi Jamat was given a bad name and accused of waging corona Jihad in Delhi.”
Alleging that the Congress has not given the post of mayor to a Muslim in Modasa, fearing that it would upset their votebank, he said, “It is the Congress party that is responsible for India’s Muslims being weak, India’s Muslims lacking a political voice and India’s Muslims, Dalits and Advasis getting harassed. Modiji has spent so much money in constructing the Statue of Unity but in the process he also displaced over 75,000 tribal people from there(sic).”
AIMIM senior leader Waris Pathan, party’s Gujarat president Sabir Kabliwala, Gujarat general secretary Hamid Bhatti were also present.
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