Declare Madhya Pradesh floods as `national calamity', Digvijaya writes to Shah


INDORE: Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday slammed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and alleged that the organisation was dividing the Hindu and Muslim communities by spreading lies and misconceptions. Singh also indicated that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi was in collusion with the BJP in several states during polls.

Speaking at “Saampradaayik Sadbhaavana Sammelan” (communal harmony conference) organised in Indore, Singh also accused All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi, a former ally of the Congress, of “playing friendly matches” with the BJP in several states during crucial elections.

Reacting to the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comments that the DNA of Hindus and Muslims being one, Singh asked “why were issues like love jihad being raised if that was the case?”

“RSS has been doing the politics of divide and rule for ages. They are dividing the two communities by spreading lies and misconceptions,” Singh alleged.

Attacking Owaisi, the Congress leader asked why AIMIM did not contest on all the Assembly seats in Telangana.

“Why did it contest Bihar polls and why is it entering into the fray in Uttar Pradesh? It is just like a friendly match,” Singh said.

Singh’s comments came even as Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled to take place early next year.

Owaisi was recently on a visit to the UP which is scheduled to face assembly elections early next year. He has been in talks with smaller political outfits for a possible alliance.

At present, there are 110 Assembly constituencies in UP where Muslim voters make up around 30-39 per cent. On 44 seats, this percentage rises to 40-49 per cent while on 11 seats, the Muslim voters are around 50-65 per cent.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won a landslide victory winning 312 Assembly seats. The party secured a 39.67 per cent vote share in the elections for 403-member Assembly. Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, BSP won 19 while Congress could manage to win only seven seats.

Meanwhile, Singh stated that “fundamentalist ideologies, whether of Hindus or Muslims, are nothing but two sides of the same coin.”

Asked to comment on lyricist Javed Akhtar’s comparison between RSS and the Taliban, the Congress leader said, “Akhtar is a renowned thinker. I am not aware in what context he made the statement. But the country’s Constitution has given the freedom to every citizen including Akhtar to express his views, even if you agree with them or not.”

Elaborating further, he said, “Satirist Sampat Saral had once defined Taliban and gave an equation that politics plus religion is equal to the Taliban.”

the BJP on Tuesday accused former Chief Minister and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi of doing communal politics in the state.

Hitting at Mayawati for promising to ensure the security of the Brahmin community if her party came to power in Uttar Pradesh, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia recalled BSP’s old slogan “Tilak, Taraju Aur Talwar, Inko Maro Joote Char”.

“It is good for democracy that the former chief minister left her home after getting out of her Rs 5 crore garland. Finally, she remembers a particular community. People who do not want the interest of the public and build their own mansions worth billions of rupees, have to do such things at the time of elections. It is their political compulsion,” said the BJP leader.

Bhatia said the BJP is confident that the party will return to power in the state on the merit of the work done under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the BJP government.

When asked about the AIMIM Chief’s statement seeking the support of the Muslim community in the state, the BJP leader said, “Wherever Owaisi will go, he will definitely spread the communal poison.”

“But, citizens of Uttar Pradesh are mature and will vote for development. They will vote for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas’.”

Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled to take place early next year. In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP won 325 seats out of a total of 403 Assembly seats. Samajwadi Party and its allies won 54 seats, BSP won 19 seats and others won 5 seats respectively.

Owaisi on Tuesday alleged that Muslims have been “cheated” in the name of secularism as he launched a scathing attack on the Samajwadi Party and declared that he had come to Uttar Pradesh to defeat the BJP.

“Our first effort is that our Muslim leadership should be developed in the biggest state of the country that is Uttar Pradesh,” he said, starting his political campaign in the poll-bound state from Ayodhya.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen leader also said his party has made all booth-level preparations to contest 100 out of the total 403 assembly seats in UP.

Addressing a rally at Rasulabad village in the Muslim-dominated constituency of Rudauli in Ayodhya, the AIMIM leader urged Muslims not to live “in the shadows” and alleged that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has always created fear among the community.

“Nineteen percent (of voters) are Muslims and nine percent are Yadavs, but the chief minister will be yours (of the Yadav clan) and we (Muslims) will not even get the job of a peon,” the AIMIM chief said targeting the Samajwadi Party which has been relying on the Muslim-Yadav combination for victory in the state.

Owaisi claimed that Yadav voters were not voting for Muslim candidates.

He alleged that other political parties do not want the Muslim leadership to develop in the country and said Muslims were “helpless” in Uttar Pradesh as they have been denied their “share”.

“Everyone got a share in UP, but the Muslims of UP did not get their share. Muslims have been cheated in the name of secularism, ” Owaisi alleged.

“The AAP, SP, BSP did not want anyone from the Muslim community to emerge as a leader. As I am talking of giving participation to Muslims, they are feeling uncomfortable,” he said.

He lashed out at the ruling BJP over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and asserted that his objective is to defeat the saffron party.

“We have been intimidated by (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and Yogi (Adityanath), but we have come to defeat the BJP.

“People have lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic. People have died due to the lack of oxygen. The dead bodies were buried on the banks of the river and were scavenged by the dogs,” he said.

The venue of the rally was around 20 km away from Dhannipur, where a mosque is coming up under the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

“Why do Muslims in Ayodhya feel ashamed or apprehensive to even talk about the Babri demolition.

All political parties have exploited Muslims and Dalits,” Owaisi said Talking about the controversy over Ayodhya being referred to by its old name ‘Faizabad’ in his posters, he said, “Some people started saying that I don’t want to take the name of Ayodhya. I want to say that Ayodhya belongs to India. Faizabad belongs to India and Owaisi also belongs to India.”

Jailed gangster and former MP Atiq Ahmad’s wife Shaista Praveen on Tuesday joined the AIMIM in the presence of Owaisi in Lucknow.

Ahmad joined the new party in absentia.

Owaisi alleged that SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party used Muslims as “slaves”.

The AIMIM leader began his three-day tour to UP from Tuesday.

He is scheduled to visit Sultanpur and Barabanki on September 8 and September 9 respectively.

Owaisi has been making efforts to expand the party across the country and has had some success in Maharashtra and Bihar.

The party, however, could not make gains in West Bengal.

“Muslims used to do ‘gulami’ (slavery) of Samajwadi Party and BSP and raise slogans in their favour and to make their government.

But when it came to giving them participation, they did not talk,” he said “When it comes to giving participation and representation to the Muslims, they say it will increase communalism.

The SP and BSP contested elections together, yet the BJP won. Muslims had given them votes. Where have all those votes gone?” he said.

Owaisi said he has joined hands with Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and other parties are also with them.

On giving tickets to Hindus, Owaisi said, “The OBCs are our brothers, we will give tickets to Dalits also and they will win.

Meanwhile, the BJP hit back at Owaisi, saying Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will not allow “Jinnah’s jihadi mentality” to flourish in Uttar Pradesh.

“Giving protection to a notorious criminal like Atiq Ahmed in the name of providing protection to the community, inducting him and his wife in AIMIM shows Owaisi’s mentality.

But keep in mind that Yogi Ji will not allow Jinnah’s johadi mentality to flourish in UP,” BJP Kannauj MP Subrat Pathak said in a tweet in Hindi.

Owaisi, however, defended his decision to induct Ahmad, who has several criminal cases lodged against him, claiming that several BJP leaders are also facing several cases.

A five-time legislator and one-time MP, Atiq Ahmad has more than 90 criminal cases, including those of murders, abductions, illegal mining, extortion, intimidation and fraud, against him.

He is lodged in a Gujarat jail.

He was shifted there from Uttar Pradesh on the Supreme Court’s directions in 2019.

The Congress also questioned Owaisi’s move to begin his poll campaign from Ayodhya.

“I came to know that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi started his poll campaign in the state from Ayodhya. Though he does politics of minority, I was thinking that he would start his poll campaign from Deva Sharif (in Barabanki),” National Chairman of Congress’ Minorities Department Imran Pratapgarhi told PTI in Lucknow, ”

“The entire UP knows that for whom he is contesting the polls. Though everyone has the right to contest polls, why is he contesting only on 100 seats and not on all the 403 Assembly seats in UP,” he said.

(With PTI Inputs)