MIM withdraws support to Cong for ‘targeting Muslims’
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The trigger for the decision was the alleged expansion of a temple near the Charminar. The MIM has seven MLAs in the 294-member Assembly and the Congress, with 155 MLAs, has been surviving on a thin majority. Besides, four Congress MLAs are threatening to join the YSR Congress Party floated by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
What will also worry the Congress are hints by the MIM of aligning with the YSR Congress in the polls. Sources said the MIM wants the Congress high command to replace Reddy.
The MIM has been protesting against alleged "expansion" at the Bhagyalakshmi temple near the Charminar. While temple authorities claim they are only repairing a torn canopy and sprucing up the premises for Diwali, the MIM filed a petition in the high court against the "clandestine expansion". The HC had ordered a status quo based on the MIM's petition.
Adding fuel to the fire was the attempt by the temple committee to put a plastic sheet on the canopy on October 30. This was followed by communal tension and stone-pelting in Old City. All the seven MIM MLAs who converged at the Charminar to protest were detained by the police on Sunday evening.
Owaisi accused the police of rounding up Muslims for riots. His brother, Akbaruddin Owaisi, MLA from Chandrayangutta and floor leader in the Assembly, was, incidentally, booked on October 16 on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy for allegedly killing a youth on April 16 last year.
Andhra PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana put up a brave front, saying the Kiran Kumar Reddy government was in no immediate danger. "We have heard what Owaisi had to say. We will try to address the issues raised by him," he said.
Owaisi said the party's first priority was to pull down the Kiran Reddy government, and that they were not afraid of facing an election. "We were forced to take this decision because the CM has failed to protect the interests of the Muslims. He is defying HC orders and behaving as if there is no law. He and his government are supporting the BJP and Sangh Parivar in targeting Muslims. Since 2010, we have been reporting to the government about a series of incidents in which Sangh Parivar members have attacked Muslims, their properties and vehicles, but the government has failed to act," Owaisi said. He even compared the temple row to Babri Masjid and Reddy's role to that of then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao. The void left by a "partisan" leader like Rao had been filled by Reddy, Owaisi said.
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