Abu Azmi, who faced the ire of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena for taking oath in Hindi in the Legislative Assembly, on Tuesday said that he would continue his fight for the ‘honour of migrants’.
Speaking in Lucknow Azmi called Maharashtra and Mumbai a mini-Uttar Pradesh and invited people to work there.
Azmi promised to strengthen the Samajwadi Party in Maharashtra and has decided to launch a campaign on the Babri mosque demolition anniversary to win the Muslims back to the party.
Azmi was given a hero’s welcome and reception in Lucknow at the SP headquarters for “the courage he showed in upholding the honour of Hindi”.
“I will not let you down. Come to Mumbai and Maharashtra. It is a wonderful city and state. People are sweet and so is their language — Marathi. It’s a place where we north Indian go as paupers and end up striking gold. Just a handful of divisive people should not deter you. Come with dignity, I will ensure that your dignity is not violated till the last drop of my blood,” said Azmi in a fervent 45-minute breathless speech.
Azmi said that UP was his mother where he was born, and Maharashtra was his revered mother who nurtured him.
Talking on why he took the oath in Hindi, he said: “It was the most obvious thing. It’s the national language. I love Marathi, it’s a beautiful language. I don’t know Marathi. By bowing to Raj Thackeray’s threat, I would have done wrong to both the Constitution of India as well as our national language. I did not take oath in Urdu. I took it in Hindi. We should not let people like Raj Thackeray run the country. They will ruin it.”
He attacked Bal Thackeray for his comments on Sachin Tendulkar (Sachin had said that he is an Indian first). Azmi literally stood at attention and saluted honouring Sachin’s ‘Indian first’ comment.
Azmi challenged the Congress to fulfil the promise — of reconstructing Babri mosque — which it made to Muslims of the country. “Construct the mosque there. Then let the judiciary carry on the case. We (Muslims) are ready to abide by whatever the court decides,” he said.
Azmi said that some people enticed him to join Congress now, but he refused saying that he would only be with one party — Samajwadi Party — and no one else.