Times of India

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday launched a pointed attack on the ruling BJP for being highly selective in withdrawing criminal cases against some individuals and labelling some others as ‘bahubalis’.

The attack came minutes after he inducted jailed don Atiq Ahmed and his wife into the party fold at an event in Lucknow.

Giving away membership cards to Atiq’s wife Shaista Parveen and other family members, Owaisi justified the decision by reading out statistics released by the election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) to claim that the ruling BJP too has MLAs and MP with criminal cases pending against them.

“In UP, 37% of the BJP MLAs have criminal charges against them. As many as 116 MPs of BJP have criminal charges pending against them, of which 87% have ‘serious criminal charges’,” Owaisi said, adding: “The ADR report also points out that BJP has most numbers of MLAs and MPs with cases of crime against women.” The AIMIM chief went on to claim that BJP ally JDU has 81% MPs with criminal cases.

Further sharpening his attack, the Hyderabad MP said in March the Supreme Court was informed that 77 cases related to Muzaffarnagar riots have been withdrawn by the Uttar Pradesh government. The chief minister himself has withdrawn a case pending against him and refused prosecution sanction in a case dating back to 2007, he said. “So one thing is very clear from this. If a politician’s name is Pragya, Ajay Kuldeep, Sangeet, Suresh, Kapil then he has to be a popular leader and those who have names like Atiq, Shahab and Mukhtar, he will be a Bahubali,” Owaisi said.

About his focus on UP elections, Owaisi said: “I want the minorities in Uttar Pradesh to have an independent voice and they do not have to rely on other political parties to raise their issues. “So far all political parties have only got the votes of the Muslims but have never given the community its share in government. I want to ensure that minorities also get their share and due representation in the government,” Owaisi said.

Responding to a media query on Samajwadi Party MLA from Kanpur Irfan Solanki’s demand from the government to provide a dedicated prayer room in Vidhan Sabha building to offer namaz, Owaisi said the MLA and his party (SP) never talked about offering namaz at mosques that lay abandoned after Muzaffarnagar riots.

Addressing mediapersons, Atiq Ahmed’s wife Shaista Parveen said she was impressed by the manner in which Owaisi always raised the issue of the poor, deprived and the minorities and so the family decided to join him.

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