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Not asking Shariah implementation or votes in the name of Islam: Owaisi
Wrong to compare MIM with BJP; Muslim Ulema do not represent the community, need to look beyond holding iftaar parties, sending chadar to Ajmer, MIM President says
Sunday November 23, 2014 7:42 AM, News Desk

Refuting the allegations that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is using religion as a tool to consolidate votes, and it is anti-national and party with an extremist agenda, Asaduddin Owaisi, the party chief and Hyderabad MP, said his party is only fighting for political and socio-economic empowerment of the Muslim community.

Asaduddin Owaisi at Idea Exchange
[MIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi during Idea Exchange at Express Group's Mumbai office.]

"I am not asking for Shariah to be implemented in India. I am just saying that all the promised facilities be given within the four walls of the Constitution. I am not asking for votes in the name of Islam. We only want representation in the Assembly and in Parliament for the community", Owaisi said while talking to Indian Express journalists during its Idea Exchange program.

Rejecting the allegations that MIM is a religious based party, Owaisi said, "It is wrong to compare us with the BJP. If you want to know more about the BJP, you should read the theories floated by Deendayal Upadhyaya uploaded on the Gujarat BJP website. It says, no two Muslims when they come together can do anything good, you cannot trust them."

Challenging his opponents to take legal action against his speeches, Owaisi said, "During the Maharashtra polls, we were given a 149 CrPC notice wherever we went for a public meeting. This notice was not given to any other party leader.

"My speeches were continuously recorded by the police as well as my opponents. If we had said anything inflammatory, why was it not reported to the Election Commission? We are not angry, we only try to reflect what the community is thinking", he said.

"I have a Muslim identity and I am proud of it. We only talk about empowerment of the community. What is wrong with that? Our success in the Maharashtra elections should have been touted as representative of the strength of Indian parliamentary democracy where a small minority party like ours has the space to oppose a bigger party like the BJP. Sadly, people have chosen to portray us as a danger to the nation", Owaisi said.

In reply to a question about consolidation of Muslim votes, Owaisi asked, "For long, Muslim politicians and the community have been seen to be good only to hold iftaar parties, send a chadar to Ajmer or to cook biryani. Where is the Muslim leadership?"

"They are all paying obeisance to their political masters. If this is the evaluation of a Muslim leader, I would never want to become one. I always tell Muslims that we are not coolies of secularism. For too long, we have been asked to carry the burden of secularism. It is not our cross to carry alone", he said.

In reply to another question about 'Muslim identity' politics, Owaisi said, "Muslims have aspirations similar to others. They want their children to be educated, they want their share in government schemes, they don't want to be unnecessarily picked up by the police.

"The community has a question: Why is it being targeted and not getting its due? People tell us that roads in others' constituencies are good, while those in theirs are abject. But we do not play on this sense of victimhood. As a party, we try to address issues the community faces."

In a veiled attack on Muslim Ulemas and clerics especially the Shahi Imam of Jamam Masjid, Ahmed Bukhari and Madanis of Jamiat-e-Ulema, Owaisi said, "These so-called chaudharies do not represent the community. One of them would use the Jama Masjid while another would fill up some stadium with Muslims."

Owaisi also said that he respected Modi as Prime Minister of the country but cannot forgive him for the Gujarat riots.

"He is the Prime Minister of the country and I respect him for that position. I, however, have the right to oppose him. If tomorrow, I am the CM and under my watch, 5,000 people die, of which one of them is your father or mother, will you shake hands with me?

"I will not forget Gujarat until all those guilty are punished. He is the PM and I respect him, but that does not mean that I have to pay obeisance to him", he said.

He once again made open his plan to contest the Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal assembly elections and accused Mulayam Singh of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mamata Banerji of Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) of failing to deliver the promises they made to the Muslim community.

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