It was a much mellowed Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of All India Majlis-e-IIttehadul Muslimeen, who addressed his first ever public rally in the city. But the Buddha Park ground in north Nagpur saw around 10,000 followers, mainly young Muslim men, women and some Dalits braving unseasonal drizzle to hear their leader. Owaisi did not lose the opportunity to dazzle them with his firebrand oratory.
The Hyderabad-based party has already made inroads into Maharashtra bagging two assembly seats in state elections held in last October and is now eyeing bigger power pie. “I am always accused of making communal statements and controversial remarks. But I am the one who calls spade a spade. Why don’t those accusing me of being intemperate ponder over the serious issues I raise,” he asked.
Owaisi made a strong pitch for reservation to Muslims in educational institutions and jobs. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi who claims of only adhering to Constitution and ‘India First’ should direct his Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to bring a law for Muslim reservations in the state. Sacchar Commission report, Mohammad-ul Rehman report, Ranganath Mishra committee report and the latest one Kundu committee report all point out the miserable condition of Muslims. Then why is the state denying the socially, educationally and economically backward giving what is their due,” said Owaisi.
“Let the RSS bosses here get the message loud and clear, I will not sit quiet till this demand of reservation for Muslims is accepted,” said Owaisi. He also ridiculed speculation that the AIMIM was a ‘BJP creation’ to wean away Muslims and Dalits from the Congress party. At the same time he targeted Congress-NCP government in the state for not doing anything to implement quota for Muslims till the last moment before elections.