BJP Begusarai MP and Union minister of state Giriraj Singh on Friday accused the Congress of fielding a “sympathiser” of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the Jale seat in Darbhanga district, and asked whether the Mahagathbandhan supports the ideology of the Pakistan leader. Singh also supported recent remarks of another Union minister of state from Bihar, Nityanand Rai, a few days ago that the state would become “a shelter for terrorists” if the RJD was voted to power.
Talking to reporters at the BJP office here, Singh said the Grand Alliance should explain its position on the candidature of Maskoor Usmani. “Let us know if the Congress’s Jale candidate, Usmani, supports Jinnah? Will Sharjeel Imam (of Jehanabad origin, who is in jail on, among others, sedition charges), will be the Grand Alliance’s star campaigner?”
Former AMU Students’ Union president, Usmani, who belongs to Darbhanga, had been booked under sedition charges in 2019 by the Civil Lines Police Station, Aligarh, for allegedly raising anti-national slogans. The charges were dropped after the police found that Usmani was in Delhi at the time of the incident. In 2018, a controversy had arisen during Usmani’s term as head of the students’ union when a local BJP MP had demanded removal of Jinnah’s photo from the union office. The AMU had defended the photo, pointing out that Jinnah was the founder member of the University Court and granted life membership of its students’ union.
The Congress responded saying “it would not allow the BJP to digress from the core issue of development” and challenged the Centre to take action against Usmani if he was guilty.
Bihar Congress spokesperson Rajesh Rathore said, “We do not attach importance to someone who is foul-mouthed… Giriraj Singh has been keeping quiet for the last six months during the pandemic… Our candidate is not a convict and sedition charges against him were dropped. The BJP is in government at the Centre. It can expedite the case against our candidate (if it can).”
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