'TMC has two faces...': Owaisi after cops cancel Kolkata rally ahead of polls
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi took a jibe at Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government on Thursday saying that leaders of the Trinamool Congress party (TMC) indulge in political doublespeak. Owaisi said in Parliament, the TMC leaders talk about freedom of expression and dissent but do not allow him to conduct a public meeting in the state.
“TMC MPs speak about freedom of expression, constitution, dissent in Parliament. But they have two faces; they say one thing in Delhi and do just the opposite in Bengal. If I want to conduct a public meeting there, then why am I not being permitted? The secular, liberal people who clap when they listen to the speeches of TMC MPs will have to think... this clearly shows the doublespeak and hypocrisy of TMC," Owaisi said.
Owaisi also said that the model code of conduct had not even come into effect, therefore refusing permission for a rally is unfair. “Model code of conduct has not come into effect now. If they're refusing to give us permission even before that, how will the election be free and fair? Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda can hold a rally; Congress, CPM, TMC can hold a rally. Why can't we?” Owaisi added.
AIMIM chief's Kolkata rally which was scheduled for Thursday was cancelled on Wednesday night after the state police refused permission for the same. Party leader Hasan said that the party had applied for permission 10 days ago but permission was not given by the police.
"We had applied 10 days back for permission. But today we were informed by the police that they will not permit us to hold the rally... we can't be cowed down by such tactics of the ruling Trinamool. We will discuss and soon announce a fresh date," Hasan said.
The rally was to have taken place in the Muslim-dominated Metiabruz area of Kolkata, aimed at kickstarting the party's campaign ahead of Bengal Assembly elections which are due in April-May. The area falls in the parliamentary constituency represented by Abhishek Banerjee, chief minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew.
After AIMIM made handsome gains in the Bihar assembly elections, Owaisi announced the party’s entry in West Bengal. The party is also discussing a possible alliance with Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui, who had recently floated the Indian Secular Front (ISF).
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May and a tight contest is expected between the BJP and Mamata Banerjee’s TMC.