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Several AIMIM leaders join TMC; allege party was acting as a polariser of votes to help BJP

Several AIMIM leaders join TMC; allege party was acting as a polariser of votes to help BJP
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Kolkata: Several leaders of the Bengal chapter of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday, claiming that the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party was only acting as a polariser of votes to help the BJP, and to strengthen communal harmony and thwart the saffron party's attempts to introduce divisive politics in the state.

Veteran TMC leaders Bratya Basu and Maloy Ghatak handed over the party flag and welcomed them to the party. AIMIM's Bengal unit leader Anwar Pasha along with some of his colleagues joined the TMC on Monday.

Alleging that a section of people is trying to take the country towards destruction using religion, Pasha said that those who are eyeing Bengal at present, whether "wearing saffron or green", should know that there is no place for such division in this state.

Making a scathing attack on Asaduddin Owaisi for helping the BJP to consolidate its position in Bihar, Pasha said: "Though AIMIM has bagged five seats in Bihar, it has helped the BJP to consolidate its position by polarising the communities. We are not going to allow this to happen in Bengal." Urging the Muslims in the state to stand by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he urged Owaisi not to come to Bengal and "disturb the communal peace and

harmony."

Pasha said that 30 per cent of Bengal's population are Muslims and asserted that the political developments in Bihar cannot be emulated in Bengal.

Owaisi had said on Sunday that the party is deliberating with the Bengal unit over contesting the Assembly elections, likely in April-May, and will take a decision after getting feedback from them.

Pasha said that fear was being created in the minds of minorities over CAA and NRC and the Bengal Chief Minister "is fighting for us and has taken to the streets to support us". "Making a law in Parliament is not the end, it has to be implemented on the ground," the leader remarked.

He said that BJP had criticised Mamata Banerjee for "appeasing the Muslims." He maintained: "We should all remember she is the most secular leader in India now. She goes to the temples, churches, mosques and gurdwaras. She has given monthly stipend to both the Imams and purohits and has also carried out extensive development that has benefitted the people of Bengal." Pasha was associated with AIMIM since 2013 and is the key person in consolidating the party in

Bengal.

Sheikh Hasikul Islam said: "We did not join AIMIM to help the BJP to consolidate its position. We believe in 'Sanatana Dharma' and not the kind of Hinduism preached by the BJP." Quoting Swami Vivekananda who in a letter wrote "a Vedantic brain with an Islamic body is the only hope for India," he said, adding: "We will work to ensure that the long cherished communal harmony is saved in Bengal. We will go to the villages and tell people not to fall into the trap of BJP."

Those who joined TMC on Monday included Murshid Ahmed, Ali Bux, Ahmadullah Sardar, Jamshed Ahmed, Nazmul Hussain, Intekab Alam, Jawed Ahmed Khan, Abdul Kasem, Zahiruddin Ahmed Khan, Tariq Aziz among others.

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