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Sunday, November 29, 2020

‘Defeat Mahagathbandhan’: Asaduddin Owaisi draws thousands in Kishanganj’s Kochadhaman

Bihar polls: The AIMIM chief's forceful and frequent interventions in Parliament over the CAA seem to have struck a chord with voters in this part of the state.

Written by Wali Ahmad | Kishanganj | Updated: October 30, 2020 1:07:04 pm
‘Defeat Mahagathbandhan’: Asaduddin Owaisi draws thousands in Kishanganj's KochadhamanAIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi at a public rally in Kochadhaman Vidhan Sabha in Kishanganj. (File/Express photo by Wali Ahmad)

A green carpet is laid out from the stage to the helipad as children, women and men hover around, waiting for AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

Party workers and supporters steadily fill the small ground at Narkali Haat of Kochadhaman Vidhan Sabha in Kishanganj, where AIMIM’s Izhar Asfi is contesting against sitting JD(U) MLA Mujahid Alam and RJD’s Shahid Alam in the Bihar elections.

Waiting among the swelling crowd for the leading Muslim politician’s chopper is Azharul Haq, 60. “We want change this time. We have voted for other parties in the past but want to give AIMIM a chance this time.” This time, the  AIMIM is contesting with the Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic), Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and BSP.

The crowd at Narkali Haat of Kochadhaman Vidhan Sabha in Kishanganj on Thursday. (Express photo by Wali Ahmad)

Behind the stage is 22-year-old Mohammed Asif Mustafa who says Owaisi is the only leader who raised issues like the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Parliament. The final-year graduate student says Owaisi holds “the promise of a bright future for the youth”.

ALSO READ | Asaduddin Owaisi interview: ‘We’ve been working for 5 yrs… while RJD, Cong, JDU sat at home’

On the stage, local leaders extol the “virtues of AIMIM and remind the crowd of failures of other political parties”.

Asaduddin Owaisi, Owaisi rally bihar, Owaisi rally, Kishanganj, bihar elections, Bihar assembly elections 2020, Indian Express Owaisi said the JD(U) is sitting with BJP this time. (Express photo by Wali Ahmad)

Owaisi’s forceful and frequent interventions in Parliament over the CAA seem to have struck a chord with voters in this part of the state. Mohammed Zakir says it is Owaisi who spoke against the “anti-Muslim” law and he is the one who will fight for the safety and well-being of the minorities in the country.

As the wait gets longer, 11 year-old Adnan Partapgarhi takes over the stage. The little poet recites poems on social harmony amid cheers.

Owaisi’s helicopter lands soon and the ground by then is teeming with no less than 10,000 people.

Addressing the gathering, Owaisi said the JD(U) is sitting with BJP this time. “The JDU-RJD alliance deceived you in 2015. Congress and RJD are responsible for this. They will come to you again in the name of Mahagathbandhan, but give them a befitting reply. We have forged an alliance in Bihar with Kushwaha as our CM candidate. We hope Bihar will shower blessings on the alliance and he will become the CM.”

Asaduddin Owaisi, Owaisi rally bihar, Owaisi rally, Kishanganj, bihar elections, Bihar assembly elections 2020, Indian Express Owaisi said, “We are willing to work with any political party which will ensure the welfare of weaker sections along with the minorities.” (Express photo by Wali Ahmad)

On talks that CAA would not help his case, Owaisi asked the crowd if he should raise it or not, the crowd responded with a resounding ‘Yes’.

READ | Akhtar-ul Iman: Nursing AIMIM hopes in Bihar

Responding to the charge that his party ends up dividing votes that ultimately helps BJP, he said, “This is a very old accusation against us. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the RJD-Congress won just one seat out of 40. Here also (Kishanganj), our candidate (Akhtarul) Iman bagged 3 lakh votes. Where is the question of spoiling? Imtiaz Jaleel won the Aurangabad seat, where Shiv Sena had been winning for 23 years. Now Congress is in alliance with Shiv Sena, sharing power in Maharashtra. That doesn’t concern people. This is the hypocrisy of so-called secular parties. If you support them, then you are secular and if you don’t you are branded communal. In the last election, JDU sought the vote to defeat BJP and they are now sitting with them. Isn’t RJD-Congress responsible for this?”

Asaduddin Owaisi, Owaisi rally bihar, Owaisi rally, Kishanganj, bihar elections, Bihar assembly elections 2020, Indian Express The crowd at Owaisi’s rally in Kishanganj on Thursday. (Express photo by Wali Ahmad)

He further said: “We are willing to work with any political party which will ensure the welfare of weaker sections along with the minorities.”

On his party’s plans to fight the West Bengal elections next year, he said “We definitely have a presence there. We will set up a proper structure in Bengal. We will figure out how it works.”

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