The Congress in Maharashtra on Sunday alleged that the AIMIM and BJP are two sides of the same coin, a day after AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the grand old party and the NCP at a rally in Mumbai for "failing" to implement a 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in the state.
Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Naseem Khan on Sunday wondered why the Owaisi-led All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) remained "silent" on the Muslim quota issue when the BJP government was in power in Maharashtra from 2014 to 2019.
Khan, who had served as a minister in the then Congress-NCP government till 2014, said the quota for Muslims in jobs and education had been upheld by the Bombay High Court but not implemented by the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government.
"When Congress was protesting against the Fadnavis government's inaction on quota implementation, the AIMIM remained silent. The AIMIM and the BJP are two sides of the same coin," Khan alleged in a statement.
He said two MLAs of AIMIM in Maharashtra never raised their voice in the Legislative Assembly when Congress demanded implementation of the Muslim quota.
On the contrary, the AIMIM legislators always supported the Fadnavis government, he claimed.
Addressing the rally at Chandivali in Mumbai, Owaisi had said Congress and NCP joined hands with Shiv Sena for power and forgot the assurance of implementing a 5 per cent quota in jobs and education for the Muslim community.
Alleging that the AIMIM's political stance has always been supportive of BJP, Khan said the Owaisi-led party remembers the Muslim quota only during elections. "Now also when civic and local bodies polls are due in Maharashtra, AIMIM is remembering the quota issue," he alleged.
Khan said Congress is committed to implementing the Muslim quota.
"What Owaisi and AIMIM have done for Muslims?" Khan asked saying the Muslim community knows the real face of AIMIM.
Owaisi had also asked Muslims to shun "political secularism" saying it has not helped the socially and educationally backward sections of the community in getting a quota in jobs and education.
The NCP and Congress are partners in the Sena-headed Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which came to power in November 2019 after the Maharashtra assembly polls.
The erstwhile Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had provided 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in jobs and education in 2014.
The Bombay HC quashed the Maratha quota but upheld the Muslim quota in education.
Opposition alleges that between 2014 and 2019, the issue of implementing this quota for Muslims was allegedly not taken up by the then BJP-Shiv Sena government.