Mumbai: Parliamentarian and President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Asaduddin Owaisi together with his younger brother and AIMIM floor leader in Telangana assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi Sunday launched the party campaign for the Mumbai civic polls with a huge rally at Nagpada Junction.
Also present at the AIMIM campaign launch rally, which saw Owaisi slamming the ruling Shiv Sena and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) for ignoring the BMC wards dominated by Muslims, local MLAs Waris Pathan and Imtiyaz Jaleel and other AIMIM leaders.
"Muslims aren't getting their due from the BMC, and they are being ignored. I promise that the AIMIM will get funds for Muslims if it comes to power in the BMC. Muslims comprise 21% of the population, so at least Rs 7,770 crore must be spent on them," Asaduddin Owaisi said while addressing the rally attended by a large number of people.
"Elect at least 20 to 25 members of MIM in the BMC and we will get the fair share for Muslim wards," Owaisi added.
Hitting out at the BMC's poor performance, Owaisi highlighted the sad state of Urdu schools.
"Despite having a budget of Rs 37, 000 crore for this year, the civic body has failed to use the funds appropriately. Many schools and hospitals in Mumbai are in poor condition. The government has fooled us by making huge promises and failing to fullfil them", he said.
Taking a dig at the Samajwadi Party, Owaisi quipped saying that the party’s group leader in the civic body, Raees Shaikh, has failed to develop his constituency (Govandi) despite being in power for 10 years and hence wants to contest upcoming polls from other ward.
“The infrastructual condition of Govandi is in a sad state. The councillor has even failed to address issues of common people and is expecting to win from Byculla constituency for the upcoming polls. The party has always claimed to be a secular political party, however, its councillors have failed to perform their duties", Owaisi said.
Asaduddin Owaisi also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not mentioning contribution of Muslim soldiers in the service of Shivaji during the 'bhoomi-poojan' of Maratha warrior memorial in Mumbai.
"We do not oppose spending of over Rs 3,600 crore for construction of a memorial. But while prime minister was talking about the great deeds of Shivaji, why didn't he mention the Muslims who were part of Shivaji's army and gave their lives for him," Owaisi said.
"Shivaji was loved because he never took an inch of farmers' land. If Shivaji were alive today, who knows what he would have done to those who are using his name to waste money," Owaisi added.
The AIMIM will contest the BMC polls for the first time. The party has won more than 50 seats in recently held Maharashtra civic polls. While it won 40 seats in the first phase, it bagged more than 10 in the second phase polls of state civic polls held in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
Hyderabad based AIMIM contested Maharashtra election for the first time by contesting civic polls in Nanded. The party later contested Aurangabad civic polls and also state assembly elections.
The AIMIM's charge in Mumbai is being led by party MLA Waris Pathan.
"People have lost faith in parties like BJP, SP and Congress, who have contributed nothing but scams to the city. People require facilities and despite having no corporators in the civic body, we have worked on potholes, fought to increase funds allocated for repair of dilapidated buildings and, most importantly, for more cemeteries in the city," Pathan said.
Pathan pointed out that AIMIM's focus is to start with canvassing for support in Muslim and Dalit-dominated areas. According to MIM leaders, the party could bag seats in areas like Golibar, Bharat Nagar, Jogeshwari, Juhu Galli, in Andheri, Malad, Behrampada and Naupada.