When All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi moved to take oath in the Parliament on Tuesday, he was greeted with slogans of “Vande Mataram”, “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” Owaisi waved at the BJP legislators and asked them to chant the slogans loudly. After the conclusion of the oath-taking ceremony, Owaisi responded “Jai Bheem Jai Meem, Takbeer Allahu Akbar, and Jai Hind.”
Congress MLC Anant Gadgil said, “Whenever a new member is elected into the Parliament, and he takes oath as an MP, his/her religious, caste, and political backgrounds are insignificant. By chanting religious slogans, BJP is displaying their communal attitude. Whenever a new member joins the Parliament, we welcome him and don’t see his political background.”
When asked about the sloganeering in the Lok Sabha, Owasi replied that it was good that they remember such things when they see him. He said, “I hope they also remember the Constitution and the deaths of children in Muzaffarpur.” Until now, the chanting of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ used to happen on the streets but now it has started happening in the Parliament too. Is Parliament a place to chant slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and Takbeer Allahu Akbar?
CPI (M) leader Ajit Abhyankar said, “Chanting religious slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the Parliament is not right. This is what BJP wants. They want to divide the Parliament and it is a very sad day for the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. Both Owaisi and BJP are dividing the Parliament on the basis of religion.”
The Modi government after coming back to power had called on newly elected members from the Muslim community to win their trust. The government also had coined the slogan “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” in an attempt to pave the way for inclusive development of the nation. However, when BJP legislators chanted the slogan “Jai Shri Ram”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to remain silent.
When AV spoke to BJP MP Gopal Shetty, the recently elected MP from the Mumbai North constituency said, “The Parliament is the temple of the country and nationalistic feelings will be evoked there only. It’s better if ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not chanted in the Parliament. However, Owaisi should recite ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Masjid and we will chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the temple but ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ should be chanted in the Parliament.”
What message are PM Modi and the BJP MPs trying to give by chanting these slogans in the Parliament? At least they could have maintained some decorum in the house as they are people’s representatives. People had voted for the BJP government with high expectations. However, if the newly elected members behave in such a manner, then they are only setting a wrong precedent in Parliament. Netizens took to Twitter to condemn the incident.
Rifat Jawaid tweeted, “This is extremely worrying when an MP is booed with provocative slogans inside the Parliament, the temple of democracy. This is shameful to say at least. These BJP MPs are doing a great disservice to their religion.”
Salman Nizami, another Twitter user tweeted, “BJP’s ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and Owaisi’s ‘Allahu Akbar’ – both are communal bigots doing politics on the blood of poor and innocent Hindu/Muslims. What has Owaisi done for the Muslims? What has BJP done for the Hindus? Drama Baaz. Shame on them.”
Another twitter user Shweta Hiya Chatterjee tweeted, “Such a disgrace to Indians. Never hd I imagined that I would have to watch such hooligans being elected as MP. Jai Shri Ram, Allahu Akbar, Jai Maa Kaali, such communalism & circus in the parliament. #DeathOfDemocracy has been declared.”
Zainaab Sikander tweeted, “To all MPs who tweeted Jai Shri Ram & to Asaduddin Owaisi sab who said takbeer. Congratulations for making an utter mockery out of the decorum of Parliament. The parliament is not to show off your religion be it “saffron” or “green”.
Earlier the furore over ‘Jai Shri Ram’ started in West Bengal after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lost her cool when a group of men chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ as her convoy was passing through Bhatpara area in North 24 Parganas district. Mamata Banerjee had allegedly objected to uttering of the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’ during multiple incidents.
Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM had an alliance with Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh for contesting the Lok Sabha polls. However, the alliance failed to make a dent in BJP-Shiv Sena’s vote in Maharashtra. In the recent Lok Sabha polls, Owaisi won in his home ground by a margin of 2,82,186 votes against BJP’s Dr. Bhagwanth Rao.