By Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui
The All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi, M. P arrived in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh to a rousing reception from the deprived Muslims and the marginalized Dalits. From the Lucknow airport, when Asad Owaisi reached Bikapur to address a public meeting in favour of his party candidate Pradeep Kori, frenzied slogans of – Dekho Dekho Koun Aaya, Sher Aaya, Sher Aaya and ‘Jai Meem and Jai Bheem’ rent the air.
The ‘Sher’ from Hyderabad arrived in UP to clear the state from the jungle raj of ‘Baap-Bete ki hukumat’ as he castigated Mulyam Singh Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. He did not spare Prime Minister Narendra Modi for meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif like a ‘lost and found brother.’ He asked the Dalits and the Muslims to come together. ‘I have not come here to become a leader but to make you a leader’ went down well with the large gathering. The barrister was at his blistering best when he went hammer and tongs at his political rivals from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Bikapur Assembly Constituency is going to polls due to the death of its sitting SP legislator Mitarsen Yadav. The SP has fielded his son. The contest will be keenly watched as this constituency had always returned the SP candidate during the last five elections except in 2007. The Muslim-dominated segment has more than one lakh votes each of the Muslims and the Dalits. Asad Owaisi, the new messaiah of Dalit-Muslim unity has his eyes on the 2017 UP Assembly polls. He invoked Dr Ambedkar, Lohia and the Dalit student scholar Rohith Vemula who committed suicide at the Central University of Hyderabad. He recalled meeting mothers of Rohith and the victim of beef politics from Dadri – Akhaq. He asked Muslims to pay tribute to the father of the Indian Constitution Dr B. R Ambedkar by supporting the Dalit candidate Pradeep Kori.
AIMIM’s candidate Pradeep Kori seems to be elated with the changing equation as the ‘Hyderabadi Sher’ has dared to beard Mulla Mulayam in his den. Pradeep recalled that when the Muslim rulers and the Dalit labourers came together, the result was the construction of Taj Mahal. He hoped for a similar bigger achievement.
The 35-minute speech of Asad Owaisi was surcharged with satire and humour. Asad Owaisi lambasted the SP government for not allowing him to address a rally in UP during the last three years. He pointed out how the SP has cheated the Muslim community on the issue of reservations. He lamented at the lack of development of Muslims and for not spending the budget of the Minority Welfare Department on Muslims. Majlis UP unit president Shaukat Ali and other senior leaders were present.
It appears Asad Owaisi is set to roar in Uttar Pradesh and send shivers down the spine of the Samajwadi Party government in the run up to the 2017 elections. Asaduddin Owaisi is set to return back to Hyderabad, where the counting of votes for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls will begin at 3 p.m on Friday.
(Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui is a senior journalist, political analyst and columnist).