NEW DELHI: Branding the Congress and NCP as “Chaudharis” or self-appointed guardians of secularism, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi said the way both parties ganged up with the BJP to get his party’s MLA Waris Pathan suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for not chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai had “exposed” them.
Owaisi ignited a controversy after he, to counter RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, said he would not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. No political party ventured support for the Hyderabad MP, fearing a backlash.
In an interview with Express, Owaisi questioned whether Congress MLAs were listening to their own “big” leaders in Delhi, including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
“On the one hand you have Rahul Gandhi going to JNU and expressing solidarity with the students there and on the other you have the party MLAs from states doing all this,” he said, adding, “This exposes the hypocrisy of all parties.”
“What is the image that is being projected… that you cannot manage your own party MLAs in the Assemblies?” he asked.
Owaisi said this also showed how minorities and Dalits were being treated by political parties across the country.
Owaisi, still, ended his speech in the Lok Sabha last week with a ‘Jai Hind’, which he said was not a placatory gesture.
Owaisi, known for his provocative speeches, said he was open to chanting ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ as a reaffirmation of the popular slogans which were used during the struggle for Independence.
“I am not against any slogans, but the criteria which are being laid down are not right,” he said. “I am against this kind of binary that if you don’t say this then you would be shot or would have to go to Pakistan.”
According to Owaisi, the anti-national versus nationalist debate was a ploy by the NDA government to divert attention from key issues plaguing the country, chiefly the economy.