Telangana MLC Jafri says it’s a case of sour grapes for those who accuse Majlis of being BJP’s B team
Syed Amin-ul-Hasan Jafri is an All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLC from Telangana. He plays a prominent role in the party’s decision-making process. The Observer interviewed him via email to know his thoughts about the political scenario. Excerpts:
Why did you leave journalism and join politics. Why AIMIM?
I never left journalism. I am still a journalist. I write columns every now and then. Joining politics was a choice I made after I got an offer from AIMIM one fine morning in 2010 to contest for the Legislative Council from Hyderabad Local Authorities Constituency…. I felt it would be a new experience to be a participant in the state capital’s development as an elected representative. Prior to this, I had no inclination towards politics. As a journalist, I covered all parties maintaining objectivity.
Who do you think is an alternative to Modi?
Our country is much bigger than political parties or personalities. Nehru ruled India for 17 years. But now people ask: Nehru, who? Modi is just two years into his second term. There are three more years for this debate to start again. See what happened in 2014. The UPA was embroiled in scams and controversies, and there was no alternative in sight. But then the people gave an opportunity to a BJP-led coalition under Modi. In 2019, there was talk of the Congress as alternative. In several states, alliances were formed to take on the BJP. And what happened? Modi came back with a good majority for the BJP. It is the people who decide who to bring to power — not you or me. Earlier, who had thought that Sonia Gandhi would be given the opportunity to usher in UPA rule for 10 years under Dr Manmohan Singh?
How do you see the expansion of AIMIM?
The expansion has started and the party is spreading its footprint to various States. The party has its presence in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, besides Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. AIMIM never aspired to wrest power from the Congress or BJP or any regional party. Whoever be in the government, we just want the voice of disadvantaged sections to be heard. We work not only for minorities but also for dalits, adivasis and Other Backward Classes. That’s our objective behind expansion to other states.
Amit Shah, in a recent speech in West Bengal, said that as soon as the Covid-19 vaccine distribution is done, they will implement CAA. What do you have to say?
The distribution of the Covid vaccine is under way. It has to cover all the 130 crore Indians… so there is still a lot of time. People will see when it happens.
Often, AIMIM is accused of being a B team of the BJP.
Those who are making this baseless allegation against AIMIM must answer two things: Why are they losing in States and Delhi, where the AIMIM did not contest polls? Also, they must explain why large sections of electors from the majority community are deserting these parties. In any case, the minorities are not the slaves of the so-called secular parties, which are too often ready to play soft Hindutva politics.
Asaduddin Owaisi, referring to Lucknow Special CBI Court’s verdict on criminal cases relating to the Babri Masjid demolition, said the judgment was obnoxious. What is your take?
You must know that the court had acquitted all the 32 accused, including LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and Vinay Katiyar, in the Babri Masjid demolition case, claiming that the demolition happened at the spur of the moment. The whole world had seen what happened on December 6, 1992. That is why the AIMIM president pointed out that the CBI court verdict contradicted the Supreme Court’s observations in its judgement in the title suit appeal on November 9, 2019, that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was a calculated act of destroying a public place of worship and a violation of rule of law. Every Indian knows the truth, whatever the verdicts.
An RJD leader recently said that AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi is single-handedly responsible for the defeat of the Grand Alliance in Bihar. He also said, “Have you ever heard the BJP-RSS calling Owaisi a traitor or anti-national?”
It is a case of sour grapes for the RJD-Congress alliance. The Congress proved to be a very weak partner for the RJD. Also, the Lok Janashakti Party of Chirag Paswan played spoilsport for the JD(U)-BJP alliance by contesting separately. Had LJP been together with BJP and JD(U), the RJD-Congress alliance would have been reduced to double digits. It also shows how weak the so-called secular parties are in retaining their hold on sections of the majority community while treating the minorities as their captive vote banks.
What are your party’s plans to expand in Telangana and become a ruling party?
Becoming the ruling party is never on our agenda. That has never been our plan. AIMIM works for the underprivileged section — minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs. We want to increase the representation of these sections of people in politics so that their woes are heard and they also enjoy political power on par with the privileged sections and upper castes. We would like to have a footprint in all major states. Today, AIMIM is the national face for minorities and other disadvantaged sections. We want to maintain and strengthen this image. We have two MPs and 16 legislators in Telangana, Maharashtra and Bihar. And now, we are contesting in West Bengal and Gujarat also. We hope to win some seats. Let us see.