The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi took a political jab at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for attending a ‘mera booth, sabse mazboot (my booth is the strongest),’ election preparation programme for BJP workers when an Indian aircraft was shot down in February.

The Member of Parliament from Hyderabad in response to the BJP slogan told voters to vote for what is good for the nation and not what is good for someone’s booth. He was speaking on the occasion of 61st revival day of the AIMIM on Friday.

While addressing the allegations against his party for being the B team of the BJP, Owaisi said, “What was our mistake? Are we against Hindus? Are we against Dalits?…You may doubt because I am a Muslim but if BJP is saying ‘mera booth, sabse mazboot’ (my booth is the strongest), then I am saying ‘mera sarhad majboot toh desh mazboot’ (if my borders are protected, then my country is protected). So when you vote, keep in mind what is good for the nation and not the strength of someone’s booth.”

The MP also took on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for his statement in a televised address that both countries should de-escalate considering the number of weapons both countries have.

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“The Pakistan prime minister talks about atom bomb (Kya baat kartey hain?!)…What is he saying?…..Don’t we have it? (Bomb toh humaare paas bhi hai) We have it too. What is he talking about?”, said Owaisi and asked the Pakistani PM to stop playing the Muslim card in India. “Muslims of this country know better. Handle your ‘Lashkar-e-Shaitaan,” he added.

Owaisi then went on to criticise the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the brand of Islam they represent and called them “demon” outfits. He also appealed to people to not address the JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “Maulana” but a “devils dog and butcher of humanity.”

Earlier, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi said his party will contest the Kishanganj Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, and might field candidates in one parliamentary constituency each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

AIMIM’s Bihar unit president Akhtarul Iman will contest as the party candidate from Kishanganj.

In 2014, Iman was the Janata Dal-United candidate but pulled out at the last minute in favour of Congress’s Mohammad Asrarul Haque, who retained the seat. Iman later joined the MIM.

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Owaisi made the announcement while speaking at a meeting here to mark the 61st anniversary of the MIM’s revival.

The three-time Hyderabad MP, who exuded the confidence of retaining his seat with a record majority, hinted at the party contesting Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra after talks with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) headed by Prakash Ambedkar.

The MIM is working with Ambedkar’s party and Owaisi claimed that their public meetings were drawing a good response.

He also said the MIM leaders in Uttar Pradesh were also keen in contesting one Lok Sabha seat in that state.

“We will discuss and decide what to do in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” he added.

Owaisi also announced that MIM would support Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana’s 16 Lok Sabha constituencies and back the YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh, where Assembly elections were due along with Lok Sabha polls.

Referring to the campaigning by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party N. Chandrababu Naidu in the Telangana Assembly elections last year, Owaisi said that he has a debt to repay to Naidu. “I will go to Andhra Pradesh and campaign for YSR Congress,” he said.

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Owaisi said if the TRS and YSR Congress together win 35 seats in the two states, they, along with the MIM, would be in a strong position at the Centre to get the pending issues of both the states resolved.

Urging the party cadres to gear up for the polls, Owaisi claimed that for last 61 years, MIM had been working to strengthen democracy and to fight for the constitutional rights of Muslims, Dalits and all oppressed people irrespective of their religion and caste.

The MIM chief recalled the sacrifices made by his grandfather Abdul Wahed Owaisi who revived the party in 1958 to strive for protection of the rights of minorities enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Owaisi said his grandfather and later his father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi and other leaders made untiring efforts to provide a political platform to raise the voice for the rights of the oppressed.

He asked party cadres to renew their commitment to the party and rekindle the spirit of sacrifices displayed by the party leaders in the past. #KhabarLive