Saharanpur: Targeting the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal at a well-attended rally in Saharanpur on Sunday, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi said Muslims had been cheated in the name of secularism.

He claimed that at SP leader Akhilesh Yadav’s Saharanpur rally no Muslim leader was given the privilege to sit on the stage. Muslims constituted around 42% of Saharanpur’s population. “Jayant Chaudhary has compared me to a film star who could attract crowds but not votes. 

I want to tell him that I am here to make Muslims a political force like Chaudhary Charan Singh did with Jats.” He said certain parties felt they had controlled the “Muslim mind” by “inculcating a fear” that there was no alternative.

Reminding the audience of the glory of the Muslim rule and carefully mixing religious messaging with constitutional rights, he urged Muslims to build their own leadership. “Send 20 candidates to the Assembly. Unlike MLAs of other parties who follow their party’s interests, AIMIM MLAs would stand by you like a wall … you are not a kingmaker right now but you can become one when being 19% of total voters, you vote as one.”

Mr. Owaisi said the so-called secular parties remained silent when the Citizenship Amendment Act and the triple talaq Act were passed in Parliament. “While the Shiv Sena could support the BJP on the CAA, the SP chose to remain silent as it is supporting the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra,” he said. “They could choose to be flexible in their approach because anti-Muslim slogans are not shouted in front of their homes. Their patriotism is not questioned after a loss in cricket match,” he said.

Mr. Owaisi alleged that in Uttar Pradesh the system was increasingly getting biased against Muslims. “We have full sympathy with Manish Gupta but the fact is when a Gupta dies because of police torture, his family gets ₹40 lakh but when a poor vegetable seller Faisal dies in Unnao because of police atrocity, nobody even commiserates with his family,” he said.

Responding to the Union Home Minister’s statement in Uttarakhand where he blamed the Congress regime for jams by giving permission for ‘namaaz’ on roads on Fridays, Mr. Owaisi said if something happened to a Muslim while offering prayers on a road, the Home Minister would be responsible.

In an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said a law should have been made to prosecute those who abandon their wives. “The media would say I am being provocative but I could at least get a cup of tea after a hectic day, Mr. Modi can’t even get that,” he quipped.

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