Uttar Pradesh 2017

Modi, Akhilesh have same development model: Owaisi

Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslime-en, is hoping to make inroads into the Muslim- majority areas of Uttar Pradesh with his first foray in the Assembly elections. The fiery lawyer from Hyderabad, in an interview to Mohammad Ali, insists his focus is on long-term development, and says the Samajwadi Party has failed to keep its promises.

What is your plan in Uttar Pradesh?

We are contesting 11 seats in the first phase. The initial reaction of people in rallies is good but the challenge is to turn that into votes. But I want to make it clear that we are not here for just one election but we will continue our work. We plan this as a long-term commitment. The SP government did not give us permission to organise meetings. It was only at the end of 2016 that we started getting permissions.

What is the purpose of contesting this time?

First of all, the social, developmental and educational situation of minorities and weaker sections has to improve. And in my little practical political knowledge, that is possible only when you have a strong political voice. For instance the budget for SCs, STs and minorities in Uttar Pradesh is just 2% of the total budget, whereas in Telangana it is 8%. The SP manifesto announced primary, secondary and upper primary schools but they do not exist on the ground. There is not even a single university in areas like Sambhal, Bijnor, Amroha and a vast part of western and eastern U.P.

In the situation where the priority of the secular bloc may be to defeat the BJP, how do you rate your prospects?

Look, I am tired of answering this question. This situation will remain so for the rest of my life and it has been so since the last 65 years. I mean, before this was the Babri Masjid, and before that was Partition and communal riots. There will always be something. The debate has been reduced to so-called development. The model of Akhilesh Yadav and that of Narendra Modi is the same. If you oppose Modi, you become anti-national. If you oppose Akhilesh, you become anti-U.P. What kind of binary is this?

Akhilesh Yadav talks about development but that happens only in Safai and Etawah. You have a safari park there and when six lions die, you get doctors from London. You have so many kids dying in Gorakhpur due to many diseases but you do not even have proper medical facilities. A narrative has been developed that only Akhilesh can develop U.P. which is not backed by the situation on the ground.

How do you say that the development model of Mr. Modi and Mr. Akhilesh Yadav is the same?

During the Gujarat riots of 2002, the then Narendra Modi government in the State failed to protect the life [of people] which is the constitutional duty of a government, and people will not forget the Gujarat riots. Similarly, the Akhilesh Yadav government failed to fulfil its constitutional duty. How can one forget the Muzaffarnagar riots? How and why is it that the Akhilesh Yadav government has, even after three years of the violence, not given sanction to file charge sheets against all the accused irrespective of their religion in the Muzaffarnagar riots cases?

Do you think your image as someone focussed only on Muslims may hamper your prospects in U.P.?

Then what is the image of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav? What is the image of BJP? Why only me? Fine — you can blame me but what about other people. I hope they can see themselves in the mirror. It’s not true that I only talk about Muslims. I talk about Muslims, Dalits and other weaker sections.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:17:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-2017/Modi-Akhilesh-have-same-development-model-Owaisi/article17090130.ece

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