Guj polls:Owaisi pitches for unity between Muslims and tribals

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Bharuch, Feb 7 (PTI) AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday marked the maiden foray of his party on the political scene in Gujarat by making a strong pitch for the unity among tribals, Muslims and Dalits ahead of the upcoming polls to local bodies, and also sought to project his party as the sole alternative to the BJP and the Congress.

Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is contesting maiden elections in Gujarat--in Ahmedabad and Bharuch cities--in alliance with the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP).

Campaigning in Bharuch, Owaisi accused the BJP government of maintaining double standards on the issues concerning tribals, Muslims and OBCs.

'On the one hand, the BJP government refused to implement the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution (dealing with administration and control of scheduled areas and STs) for tribals, but on the other hand the government imposed the Disturbed Areas Act that prevents Muslims to either sell or purchase land and houses without the permission of the district collector.

'The Disturbed Areas Act is against the Constitution and rights to life and equality,' he said.

Citing a study by IIT-Roorkee, Owaisi said tribals are the 'most displaced community in the country, but despite that, the government is not providing them protection under the fifth schedule of the Constitution'.

'You (BJP government) constructed the Statue of Unity (in tribal-dominated Narmada district of Gujarat), but will you turn the unity of tribals into disunity? What kind of unity is this to snatch their land, deprive them of water and destroy their culture?' he asked.

Owaisi said the BJP and the Congress are sort of 'internally connected', which cannot be separated.

'People of Gujarat want an alternative. We want to fill a political vacuum,' he said.

'The Congress took your (Muslim) votes, but their MLAs joined the BJP. They (the Congress) remained a mute spectator during the 2002 communal riots (in Gujarat). Where was secularism of those who talk about it when the BJP won all the (26) Lok Sabha seats (in Gujarat in 2019 polls)?' he asked.

He said the alliance of the AIMIM and the BTP could offer a strong 'alternative political platform' to the people who are 'fed up with the BJP and the Congress' in Gujarat.

Owaisi indicated that the BTP and the AIMIM will join hands in Rajasthan as well.

'If you want liberty, freedom, equality, justice etc, then you will have to decide your own fate, which you can do by becoming a political power, and you can become a politicalforce by choosing your leaders, who will be your own people who will go to the Assembly without fearing PM Narendra Modi or the Congress,' he said.

He also invoked B R Ambedkar in his speech.

BTP MLA Chhotu Vasava alleged the Central government was working for select corporates and not for the people.

'The land is being soldoff in the country. Whatever promises made by the prime minister were a lie. What Modi Saheb is doing in the country is known to all. Lies are not going to work,' he said.

The local body elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on February 21 and 28.

Elections to six municipal corporations will be held on February 21 and that for municipalities, district panchayats and taluka panchayats on February 28.

Results will be declared on February 23 for the first phase and on March 2 for the second phase. PTI KA PD NSK NSK