The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena have demanded the cancellation of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi's public meeting in Nagpur on February 28.
This will be Owaisi's first public address in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region. He had earlier addressed rallies in Mumbai and Pune as his party AIMIM is trying to gain a foothold in Maharashtra. Owaisi's address in Nagpur is of significance as the city houses the RSS headquarters.
Vikas Kumbhare, the BJP legislator from north Nagpur, has urged the police commissioner KK Pathak to decline permission to Owaisi's proposed meeting in the city. "Owaisi in known for making hate speeches and his address would create communal tension in Nagpur. Hence he should not be permitted to hold a meeting in the city," Kumbhare said in his letter to Pathak.
The local unit of Shiv Sena has also demanded the cancellation of the meeting in view to maintain communal harmony in Nagpur. Satish Harde, the city Sena chief met joint police commissioner and submitted a memorandum in this regard.
Owaisi, known for making hardline speeches, is reportedly planning to woo the Muslim voters, along with dalits and other minorities in Nagpur, ahead of the 2017 municipal elections. However, he has appealed to all religious leaders from other communities to attend the meeting, claiming that the event shall change the people's outlook toward Owaisi.
AIMIM had bagged two seats in the assembly elections in Maharashtra that was also the first electoral victory outside its home turf Telangana. In Vidarbha, which has a sizeable Muslims population, the AIMIM is planning to create a more secular image with support from the dalit community in the region.