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Political Heat Rises As Owaisi Tours Rajasthan Ahead Of Polls

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By: Parul Kulshreshta | JAIPUR
Updated: September 14, 2022 19:17
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi in Rajasthan's Sikar
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With the date of assembly elections drawing closer, the political heat is rising in Rajasthan.

Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), arrived in Rajasthan on Wednesday to spread his party’s presence and make an impact in next year’s elections.

During his two-day visit, he will be touring Jaipur and other areas in Shekhawati (Sikar, Ladnu, Laxmangarh, Khirwa, Fatehpur) where the minority vote bank could make a difference. At a press conference organised in Jaipur on Wednesday, he said that his party’s main target would be the development of Rajasthan.

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“It is not about minority voters. I will be going to various parts of Rajasthan. We are focusing on the development of the state, including employment opportunities for people, rising inflation and political representation for the people of minority, tribal and Dalit communities in the state. This will be our agenda for the election,” said Owaisi.

When asked who his party would support if there’s a coalition, Owaisi skirted the question, saying it would be decided after the election.

Owaisi’s AIMIM has been contesting elections in Muslim-dominated regions of different states for the last few years. Its focus has been on assembly polls in Bihar, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. Now, it is planning to foray into Rajasthan.

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Apart from the press conference, Owaisi held a march at Jalupura, Jaipur, and a public meeting at Bhatta Basit, Jaipur. Later in the day, he organised a slew of public meetings in Sikar, Laxamangarh, Fatehpur, Khirwa, and Nawalgarh. On Thursday, he has programmes planned at Balara, Sujangarh, and Ladnu. These are places where the minority population is high.

In Rajasthan, there are 36 minority-dominated seats, but the vote bank is not as strong as that in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. There are very few seats in Rajasthan, where elections can be won only with the help of the Muslim vote bank.

It is believed that if Owaisi’s party contests here, it will mainly dent the Congress’s votes. Rafiq Khan, Congress MLA from Adarsh Nagar, Jaipur, and Amin Kagzi, Congress MLA from Kishanpole, are prominent Muslim leaders in Jaipur.

Owaisi assured us that his party will give tickets to women as well and will ensure that Muslim women are not oppressed. Commenting on the Hijab row, Owaisi said that the issue has been created to “demean our community”, otherwise there are other religious symbols as well. “A woman wears a hijab on her head, not on her brain. Why is that an issue for the people? There are other religious symbols that are allowed in the educational institutions then why not a hijab?” asked Owaisi.

Reacting to Owaisi’s rally, Cabinet minister Govind Ram Meghwal said that anyone can try to garner minority votes, but to fight communalism in the country, only Congress — under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot — is capable.

“If any leader tries to separate Muslim voters from others, it will benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). We need to fight against secularism together. The BJP is trying to divide people in the name of religion and caste. Owaisi ji should understand that if we have to defeat the BJP, then all the secular parties should stand united,” said Meghwal.

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