After Kolkata Police denied permission to Asaduddin Owaisi-led-AIMIM to hold its first rally in Metiabruz today, its state unit lashed out at the Mamata Banerjee government, accusing it of abusing its power and threatened to organize multiple rallies in the state each time the police refuses to cooperate.
Addressing the Press today, Majid Hussain, West Bengal observer for the AIMIM, said “Permission was sought 10 days ago for today’s rally but the police only made us run from pillar to post without any apparent effect. The Trinamul Congress government is only allowing its B team-BJPto campaign but did not allow our leader, Owaisi, to hold his first rally in Kolkata today. Is this democracy? The state government speaks of freedom and liberty but when it comes to application they simply look away from these principles.”
To start its poll campaign, Owaisi was scheduled to address voters in the minority dominated Metiabruz which falls under the Diamond Harbour, Lok Sabha constituency of Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. However, TMC MP Sougata Roy said state government had nothing to do with this while calling AIMIM ‘BJP’s B team’.
It is useful to recall that atleast 21 members of AIMIM’s Bengal unit recently jumped ships to TMC. Asked aboutthe present number of workers in its Bengal unit, Hussain said, “It is a personal matter of the party.”
Commenting on a possible alliance between Abbas Siddqui’s ISF and AIMIM for the upcoming polls, he said both parties have a tacit understanding and added Owaisi will visit the state on 4 March and declare AIMIM’s agenda in Bengal and the status of an alliance with ISF. Siddiqui had recently said he will not field candidates in the seats eyed by AIMIM.
“They have two faces, in Delhi whatever they say, they do just the opposite in Bengal. If I want to hold a public rally why are you not giving permission?” said Owaisi. “Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda can hold rallies, Congress and CPI-M can hold rallies; Forward Bloc or TMC can hold rallies. Why can’t we? Those secular-liberal people who after listening to the speeches of TMC MPs and clap must rethink,” he said.
He took a dig at TMC MPs like Derek O’Brien and Mohua Maitra without naming them saying, “In Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha they speak big about Right to freedom of expression, dissent and quote Tagore.” and lambasted the ruling Trinamul pointing out: “This is their double speak, hypocrisy.”
He even went on to compare Gujarat with Bengal and said:“If I can go to Gujarat and speak against Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and RSS, can’t I go and speak in Bengal?”