By Sushil Kutty
AIMIM head Asaduddin Owaisi is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s true friend, the kind who swears by “a friend in need is friend indeed.” And these days aren’t easy for the BJP. There are elections in five states. The party’s iconic leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost trust with the hoi polloi even as farmers say they can’t believe he will keep his word. When he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had headed a panel that promised to fix the MSP but when it came time to deliver, Modi had chosen to ditch rather than to pitch!
Yes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some say, faces a fait accompli. He shouldn’t have rolled out the three farm laws. Once he did so, he shouldn’t have treated the farmers like they were his grandsons and grand nephews. Then, he wouldn’t have had the need for Owaisi now or ever.
But, as it turns out, Owaisi is singing ‘Johny-Johny’ in Uttar Pradesh and the polarization of votes like the BJP would want is taking shape. Owaisi has arrived in camouflage and talk has shifted from polarization to CAA and Shaheen Bagh. “Life and death are in the hands of Allah,” Owaisi roared at a rally in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh. “When will Muslims wake up?”
The Congress and the Samajwadi Party do not like Owaisi’s CAA plans for UP, which goes to poll in a matter of just a few more months. By mid-2022, there will be a new government in Lucknow and Owaisi has said his party will place “five deputy chief ministers into play.”
Weird! But nobody tells that to Owaisi. Like Mahatma Gandhi and a few others, Owaisi is also a “barrister” and he has, like Gandhi, not fought a single court case. Owaisi’s oratory and “courtroom dramas” are confined to Parliament, and the public squares.
“Will turn UP streets into Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh if the Modi Government does not scrap CAA, NRC,” Owaisi warned, confident that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will uproot all his plans to “turn UP streets into Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.”
Owaisi is banking on Yogi Adityanath to stop him. The AIMIM chief doesn’t give two hoots what people think, especially if they are the Muslim vote-bank. The Muslims of Uttar Pradesh aren’t Owaisi’s Praetorian Guards. Owaisi claims the Muslims of India and Uttar Pradesh need “leaders of their own”, like the Hindus and the Sikhs have, and AIMIM, with the ‘Musalmeen’ in it, can provide them “leaders.”
It suits Owaisi, and it suits the BJP. Significantly, yesterday (November 22, 2021), a BJP leader spoke aloud, asking why the CAA should be scrapped just because Muslims want so? “The farm laws will be repealed because farmers voted and will vote for the BJP; whoever said Muslims vote for the BJP? Never— Muslims never vote for the BJP, and will not ever.”
So, Owaisi knows he is wooing a solid bundle of a captive vote-bank. He knows the Muslim vote is divided — apportioned between the “secular parties— the Congress, SP, BSP, and now the AAP.” If Owaisi succeeds, 100% of Muslims will vote for the Muslim party and then there will be only two, “AIMIM and BJP”— the proponents of the two-nation theory will be vindicated.
It is one of those ironies and dichotomy that Owaisi and the BJP complement each other. The AIMIM chief wants Muslim voters to unite behind him. “When Thakurs, Brahmins, Yadavs, Kurmis can become strong by uniting, why can’t you?” he asked. “Today the Ansari community and Qureshi community are on the verge of ruin in UP. The government has made them unemployed. Meat shops of the Qureshi community were locked. Slaughter houses have closed. The income of weavers has decreased.” Owaisi knows which side of his bread is buttered. He wants both sides buttered. (IPA Service)