Hyderabad/New Delhi: AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi has alleged that the Congress candidate in Nirmal constituency in poll-bound Telangana attempted to offer Rs 25 lakh as “party fund” to cancel his rally in support of the TRS in the town, a charge denied by the latter.
Addressing a public meeting organised by his party in Nirmal on Monday night, Owaisi alleged that A Maheshwar Reddy called an MIM leader on phone and offered to pay Rs 25 lakh as bribe to stop him from holding the meeting.
He also claimed to have recorded the conversation. Rejecting the charge, Reddy termed it as “baseless” and “false” and said he would quit politics if Owaisi proved it. In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Owaisi should not be taken seriously and charged him of having a “gathbandhan” with the BJP.
“We do not need to take Mr. Owaisi and his party seriously. We don’t need to take a party seriously who travels from Hyderabad to Mumbai to fight elections, which tells their own story on whose support, on whose bidding, for what purpose. We do not need to take seriously a party which does the same thing in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and then swears by secular unity.”
“It is the strangest distortion and new definition of a unity of secular forces with MIM. It is well known that the closest ‘gathbandhan‘ exists between BJP and such electoral forces. So you can imagine whose proxy is speaking for whom and I do not understand who they are to give instructions to which person and which case on what locus,” Singhvi said.
The MIM that is on friendly terms with the TRS has not fielded its candidate in Nirmal Assembly seat, and organised the meeting in support of the ruling party candidate though there was no formal electoral tie-up between the two parties for the 7 December Assembly elections.
The MIM is contesting eight seats – all in Hyderabad – while the TRS is going alone in the polls to the 119-member assembly. The Congress heading a ‘grand alliance’ of TDP, CPI and TJS has announced candidates for 94 segments.
“Now when this jalsa (meeting) is happening the Congress people tried to buy Asaduddin Owaisi. Maheshwar (Reddy) phoned a MIM leader telling him to stop Owaisi Saheb, (and) will give Rs 25 lakh party fund. I have the recording (of that phone conversation),” Owaisi said at the meeting.
This Congress candidate wants to buy my party for Rs 25 lakh. “Ye log samajthe hain ham apni jamat ka sauda karenge (these people think we do deal for our party). Rs 25 lakh that is the sign of their arrogance,” the Hyderabad MP alleged.
Strongly refuting Owaisis allegations, Reddy dared Owaisi to prove the charge with evidence. “Why should somebody stop someone’s rally. Owaisi has already started campaigning for TRS party and now this man says that he is being stopped with an offer of Rs 25 lakh. Why somebody will offer him Rs 25 lakh and why he will stop,” he told PTI.
“I want to make it very clear if really somebody had called him or met him or if he has any evidence let him show the evidences. I am ready to take it as a challenge and I am ready to quit politics if it is proved. Is he ready to quit politics, if it is untrue? he asked. They were talking of something which was ‘baseless and false’,” he added.