BJP cracks down on Owaisi’s Buldhana rally, questions Uddhav Thackeray’s silence over ‘Aurangzeb issue’

AIMIM leader denies that slogans glorifying Aurangzeb were uttered at his Buldhana rally, warns he will file defamation cases against local media channels for running ‘false news’

June 25, 2023 06:40 pm | Updated 06:40 pm IST - Pune

 Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File | Photo Credit: PTI

No patriotic Muslim can have regard for Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday, while remarking that the minority community in Maharashtra and India were “not Aurangzeb’s descendants”.

Mr. Fadnavis, who was speaking in Nagpur, was responding to a question over the latest furore over the 17th century Mughal Emperor after slogans glorifying Aurangzeb were reportedly uttered at a rally held by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi in Buldhana district on Saturday.

“Nobody in either Maharashtra or in the country has Aurangzeb’s blood running in them. So, who are these sons of Aurangzeb that have risen suddenly? The Muslims in this country are not his descendants…Aurangzeb had come here to oppress Hindus. Tales of his atrocities can run to thousands of pages. So, no patriotic Muslim can regard Aurangzeb,” Mr. Fadnavis, who is also the State’s Home Minister, said.

The BJP leader further questioned the intentions of persons attempting to glorify Aurangzeb while assuring that their motives would be revealed very soon.

“Who are giving such slogans? What are such people trying to do in Maharashtra? Who is behind all this? All this will come out soon,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

Mr. Owaisi, speaking in Maharashtra’s Amravati district on Sunday denied that any such slogans glorifying Aurangzeb had been uttered during his Buldhana rally, while warning he would file defamation cases against some local media channels for running “false news”.

“This is completely false [that such slogans were uttered during the rally]… I will book a case against media channels for showing false news,” the AIMIM leader said.

Meanwhile, the State BJP unit pounced on Mr. Owaisi, using the AIMIM leader to attack their rival — Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray.

BJP State chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s soil, the “progeny of Aurangzeb” were rearing their heads again.

“An outrageous pattern of sloganeering glorifying Aurangzeb has come to light during Asududdin Owaisi’s speech in Buldhana. The State government should probe the matter and take action to teach the culprits a lesson. Earlier, Prakash Ambedkar bowed his head before Aurangzeb’s tomb. But Uddhav Thackeray, who keeps parroting on about Hindutva, is silent. Now at least will Mr. Thackeray protest these slogans during Owaisi’s meeting?” Mr. Bawankule said in a tweet.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged that while Mr. Owaisi was trying to make “a hero” out of Aurangzeb, the other Opposition parties in Maharashtra, including the Congress, the Shiv Sena (UBT) faction and Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) were trying to glorify the Mughal emperor for the sake of attracting Muslim votes.

In May 2022, Mr. Owaisi’s brother, AIMIM leader and five-term MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, had created controversy when he had prayed before the Mughal emperor’s tomb in Khuldabad and laid flowers on it, causing the BJP, then in Opposition, to target Mr. Thackeray’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

The furore over Aurangzeb has continued even after the fall of the MVA, with the State witnessing a marked rise in communal tensions recently after minority community youths in Kolhapur put up WhatsApp status messages glorifying Aurangzeb, while an AIMIM leader in Ahmednagar was allegedly seen waving a poster of the Mughal emperor.

Last week, VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of eminent social leader and jurist late B.R. Ambedkar, and Mr. Thackeray’s ally in the State, had visited Aurangzeb’s tomb in Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad) and offered floral tributes to the Mughal emperor.

This gave the BJP ample ammunition to blast Mr. Thackeray, accusing the Sena (UBT) chief of compromising on his Hindutva ideals by consorting with Mr. Prakash Ambedkar.

Mr. Thackeray, in his turn, lashed out at the BJP, stating that even stalwart BJP leader L.K. Advani had bowed before the tomb of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone to Pakistan to eat cake on the occasion of then-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday.

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