news Monday, July 13, 2015 - 05:30
The lone MP from his party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi has been making headlines in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2017 polls, despite not being given permission by the state to hold rallies there. According to a report in the Business Standard, Owaisi travelled to western UP earlier this week to attend Iftar parties. He declared that the AIMIM would contest the 2017 UP assemble elections, but fell shy of disclosing the number of seats his party would contest. He also attacked the Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in the state for fostering communal tension along with the BJP. Owaisi has been denied permission by the state government to hold public meetings as many as six times since February 2014. The AIMIM chief, whose party has a support base of Muslims and Dalits, reportedly criticised the BJP and the SP but did not mention Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chieftain Mayawati.   The party is reportedly planning on testing the waters in UP as it did in Maharashtra this year by fielding candidates in panchayat and block elections. Reportedly, the party is planning on targeting the 130 assembly seats in the state where Muslims constitute more than 20% of the population. Several of the seats have also been reserved for scheduled caste which would enable the party to use their slogan 'Jai Bhim, Jai Mim'. “Bhim” is a reference to Dalit icon BR Ambedkar and Mim being the letter “M” in the Urdu alphabet, the report adds. The strategy worked well for the AIMIM in Aurangabad this year, where six of their 26 winning candidates were Dalits professionals like doctors, engineers, lawyers and the like. The SP dispensation in the state has already taken note of the AIMIM threat. Owaisi has been denied permission to hold rallies thrice in Azamgarh last year, and twice in Allahabad and once in Agra. Fear of the disruption of communal harmony was one of the reasons cited by the government. “No instructions are imposed on inflammatory speeches in the state by Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Prachi and Sakshi Maharaj. Why is only Owaisi banned?” UP unit Majlis leader Shauqat Ali was quoted as asking.
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