New Delhi: The Congress party has come out in defence of its Bihar election candidate Maskoor Usmani, a former Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student body president who the BJP last week accused of being a “Jinnah supporter”.
Usmani was the AMU student union chief in May 2018 when the university found itself mired in a controversy over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the premises.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the BJP for raking up the controversy as part of its “hate factory”. Speaking at a press conference in Patna Saturday, Surjewala said Usmani has nothing to do with Jinnah’s ideology.
“The Mahagatbandhan’s candidate from the Jale constituency (Maskoor Usmani) has nothing to do with Jinnah’s ideology. This (the allegation) is a blatant lie,” Surjewala said. “When he was a student at AMU, he wrote a letter to PM Modi, asking him for his permission to take down Jinnah’s portrait from AMU, and then subsequently from the Bombay High Court as well as Parliament.”
The Congress party had announced Usmani as the Mahagatbandhan’s candidate from Jale constituency in Darbhanga district for the upcoming Bihar polls.
A day after the party’s announcement, however, BJP leader Giriraj Singh slammed the Congress for fielding someone who “supports Jinnah”.
If anything happens to me, NDA will be responsible: Usmani
After the BJP’s attack on Usmani, the Jale candidate wrote to CM Nitish Kumar Saturday, saying the NDA will be held responsible if he was harmed physically.
“Since yesterday, several false and offensive reports are being run by various news channels in an attempt to target me and influence the upcoming elections. I will be filing a defamation case against the media houses. But these reports have put my life in danger. My well-wishers warn that I may be targeted during the course of the elections,” he wrote in his letter, which he shared on Twitter.
“If such a thing happens in the future, the NDA will be held responsible. That’s why it is my earnest request that this matter is taken up seriously and that I be provided with adequate security,” he added.
मीडिया द्वारा फैलाये जा रहे झूठे ड्रामे के बाद अगर भविष्य में हमारी सुरक्षा को किसी भी तरह का खतरा होता है तो इसकी ज़िम्मेदार एनडीए सरकार होगी। लेटर के माध्यम से सरकार को अवगत करा दिया गया है। @officecmbihar @NitishKumar @PMOIndia @ANI pic.twitter.com/lJyWXUPRfO
— Maskoor Usmani (@MaskoorUsmani) October 17, 2020
AMU was hit by a controversy in 2018 over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the university premises. Violence erupted on the campus after then BJP Aligarh MP Satish Gautam wrote to the university vice-chancellor objecting to the portrait.
Usmani was the president of the AMU Students’ Union then.
The union maintained that Jinnah’s portrait had been hanging in the university since 1938 — when he was given honorary membership of the students’ union, as were several other leaders of the time.
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