NEW DELHI—Expressing that his life was under serious threat owing to highly objectionable campaign launched by the media against him, Congress candidate from Jale assembly constituency in Darbhanga district Dr. Mashkoor Ahmed Usmani has said that he will hold NDA government responsible if anything happens to his life.
In a letter to Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, Dr. Usmani said that the media, particularly electronic and digital, have been circulating false and baseless things about him with a view to defaming him and cause political damage to him in elections.
Stating that the negative campaign launched by the media against him had put his life to risk and his supporters and sympathisers feel that such propaganda poses a personal risk to his life, Dr. Usmani said, “If any thing happens to me, I will hold NDA government totally responsible for it”.
Though Dr. Usmani has not made clear in his letter as to why the media and others had launched a campaign against him, he told in interviews to some English media that this was with reference to BJP leaders from Bihar and outside, accusing him to be “Jinnah sympathiser”.
He said that BJP leaders had started the campaign ever since he was declared a Congress candidate for Jale assembly seat in Darbhanga district. He said that this was being done to divide the electorates on communal and religious lines to benefit the BJP candidates.
BJP leaders have been openly saying that Usmani is a supporter of the “ideology” of Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
The 28-year-old was president of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Students’ U
Union in 2017-18 when the controversy began about a portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah hanging in AMUSU. It became international news when it was raised by BJP MP Satish Gautam who demanded its removal.
But Usmani said that he had not put up the portrait and he noticed it only when the issue was raised by the BJP MP. He said that it was put up in AMUSU office in 1938 after Jinnah was given the union’s lifetime membership. According to Usmani, Mahatma Gandhi was the first person to have been given the lifetime membership of AMUSU in 1920. He said there are also portraits of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and S Radhakrishnan also in the AMUSU office.
He said that when the issue was raised, he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying that AMUSU would have no problem if Jinnah’s portraits are removed from all the government buildings in the country. But there was no reply from any of the two.
Usmani wonders why the BJP is raising non-issues like the “portraits of Jinnah” in Bihar elections, especially when no one on this side of the international border ever remembers him. Jinnah has become a history and yet, BJP leaders are raking the issue just to polarise the voters for political gains.
Dr. Usmani says he is a follower of the ideology of Sir Syed Ahmed who stood for unity of Hindus and Muslims and dedicated his entire life for education. “I wish to promote education in my state”, he says.
Usmani is among 12 Muslim candidates fielded by the Congress in Bihar elections to be held in three phases, with first phase elections for 71 seats to be held on October 28, the second phase for 94 seats on November 3 and the third for remaining 78 seats on November 7. The results will be declared on November 10.