The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has decided not to petition Maharashtra Assembly speaker seeking revocation of the suspension of its MLA Waris Pathan for not chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
Instead, the party has decided to exploit the issue to grab attention of Muslim voters ahead of the 2017 BMC elections, said party sources. After winning its first Assembly seat in Mumbai during the 2014 elections, the AIMIM now wants to emerge as a key political player in the financial capital of India.
Pathan, who has been in the national spotlight, has been advised by his party to hold on to his position as a “victim” which they feel will help consolidate the Muslim votes.
“The minorities are hurt that we have to chant the slogan to prove our nationalistic credentials. It will definitely be an election issue,” said Pathan. He even put the religious angle saying a few Ulemas (religious leaders) have advised Muslims against chanting the slogan.
Pathan, who had earlier announced that he would seek speaker Haribhau Bagde’s intervention to revoke his suspension, now said the speaker should suo motu do the same.
“The speaker needs to take into account the sentiments of the people who are all pained by my suspension. He should call me and deliver me justice,” said Pathan. According to political analysts, the AIMIM will seek to gain political mileage from this controversy in which other parties played a major role.
“The BJP wanted to make Pathan a hero and the Congress fell in the trap. Now, there is no going back for Pathan and he will exploit the situation to the logical end positioning him as someone who stood against the Sena-BJP combine,” said Prakash Bal, an eminent political expert.
Pathan has been felicitated by more than 40 outfits who praised his stance of not bowing to the BJP. “Today, the Ulemas and Imams have publicly endorsed my stance and even the intellectuals have stood by me,” he added. The Maharashtra Assembly had on March 16 suspended Pathan as he was not ready to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
Pathan chanted Jai Hind and Hindustan Zindabad, but it did not satisfy the Sena-BJP members who wanted him to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai to prove his loyalty to the nation, which Pathan steadfastly refused.Just days before, party chief Asaduddin Owaisi had stated in his public rally in Latur where he refused to chant the slogan even if he is threatened with the knife.
Most of the political parties are now getting ready for the 2017 BMC polls and even the AIMIM is seen to be a serious player. The BMC elections are important for most political outfits, as it gives both clout because of control on India’s richest civic body that governs the financial capital.