AIMIM ready to ally with NCP and Congress; we are not 'B' team of BJP: Imtiaz Jaleel

Mr. Jaleel said he spoke about the AIMIM's willingness to tie up when State Minister and the NCP leader Rajesh Tope visited his residence on March 18

March 19, 2022 11:36 am | Updated 11:36 am IST - Aurangabad

Syed Imtiaz Jaleel. File

Syed Imtiaz Jaleel. File

The AIMIM is willing to ally with the NCP and the Congress, which are constituents of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, party MP Imtiaz Jaleel said, adding the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party is not the 'B' team of the BJP as alleged by mainstream parties.

Mr. Jaleel said he spoke about the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen's willingness to tie up when State Minister and the NCP leader Rajesh Tope visited his residence on March 18.

"Tope visited me on Friday, days after I lost my mother due to an illness. It is always alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party wins because of us (AIMIM - due to splitting of Muslim votes). To prove this allegation wrong, I proposed to Tope that we are ready for an alliance. However, he didn't say anything about my offer," Mr. Jaleel, who heads the Maharashtra unit of AIMIM, told reporters on Friday night.

Now, we want to see whether these are just allegations against the AIMIM or they (the Congress and the NCP) are ready to join hands with us, he added. Queried about the likely stand of the Shiv Sena regarding AIMIM's offer, the Aurangabad MP avoided a direct reply.

"The fact is that these parties want votes of Muslims. Why only NCP? The Congress also says they are secular and they also want votes of Muslims. We are ready to join hands with them too. The BJP has done the maximum damage to this country. We are ready to do everything to defeat them," the AIMIM leader said.

He said the AIMIM had also spoken [about a tie-up] with the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh [polls], but they wanted votes of Muslims and not Asaduddin Owaisi, who heads the party. "In Maharashtra also, these parties (the Congress and the NCP) want votes of Muslims but not the AIMIM. You blame us for BJP's victory. I propose that then let us contest the elections together," he said.

When asked whether the proposal for an alliance is limited for the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, Mr. Jaleel said that the future action depends upon the response AIMIM gets from the NCP and the Congress. "Otherwise we can go alone. We are giving them a chance [to ally] as they call us the 'B' team (of BJP)," he said.

AIMIM had won two seats in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections. On Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide's recent remarks about Islam, Mr. Jaleel said the former can be compared with Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

"Kasab used a gun to weaken India and this man is using vitriol. No religion is bad. People who follow that religion can be good or bad. This person is not worth calling 'Guruji'," Mr. Jaleel said.

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