By Syed Akram
Hyderabad: Asaduddin Owaisi, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader who represents the Hyderabad Lok Sabha Constituency, has flooded his Twitter timeline with tweets, retweets with content directly about China, or connected to China, the Line of Actual Control or the Galwan Valley dispute or the Prime Minister’s responses to this. For 40-days, till 10th July, this content occupied on his timeline over 40% space.
The AIMIM supremo is one of the few politicians, and perhaps the only Muslim politician worth his salt, who has maintained a vocal, critical and no-holds-barred stand on the subject. Most importantly, his stand has been consistent. He has asked upfront difficult questions on positions of the PLA and the number of instances of violations on the Line of Actual Control by Chinese. He has also demanded white paper on the situation. His incisive and biting line of question has left party spokespersons scurrying for cover.
That is Asaduddin Owaisi, the national leader, on a pan-India stage.
Only China-related content
But, the situation in Hyderabad, his home-constituency is a different case altogether. If a Twitter user were to scroll up or down his timeline from 1st of June, the date when Unlock 1.0, the relaxation on the lockdown he or she will find approximately 580 tweets (considering a Twitter threads as a single tweet) till 11th of July. Out of these China and China-related content find preponderance – over 235 tweets, a huge number as compared to those on the state of affairs in Hyderabad.
Reluctant to raise question about COVID situation in State
Again, if one were to compare this with the tweets in connection with Hyderabad, the constituency which he represents, the number of tweets is abysmally low. There are around 45 tweets pertaining to Hyderabad, several of which are tweets on the same subjects, which the Hyderabad Member of Parliament has tweeted or retweeted. These are of individuals and new organisations. There are hardly any tweets which hold the TRS, his ally, and its government to account, especially its failure to tackle the pandemic.
The first tweet connected to Hyderabad after 1st of June is concerned with the new bridge at Osman Gunj. This is followed by a tweet on the Nehru Zoological Park. Then, there are tweets about the AIMIM handing over contactless sanitising equipment to various religious places of worship, after which there is a tweet about AIMIM workers visiting First Lancer where a COVID-19 case was reported. Again, there is a tweet about the handing over contactless sanitising equipment.
Other tweets connected to Hyderabad are related to Hyderabad City Police booking one of its own personnel for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl, and the Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar visiting the Gandhi Hospital.
Last time when MP questioned TS Govt.
The only tweet seen on 25th of June of his timeline which can be construed as critical is the Telangana Government’s pausing of testing. The MP has then welcomed the Lad Bazaar traders’ decision to voluntarily close the market.
The next set of tweets, on 26th of June, are about an intervention in the Kalaapatther case in which he informed Twitterati of his intervention.
However, the next set of tweets is in connection with water logging at Khilwat, debris cleaning in S D Nagar. The few noteworthy tweets in connection with the pandemic in Hyderabad are the 20,000 additional tests as demanded by Akbaruddin Owaisi in Hyderabad Parliamentary Constituency and Nampally assembly constituency, and making the Unani Hospital a first referral hospital centre.
Once again, the Asaduddin Owaisi comes to the defence of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi as a loyal ally when he tweeted about the ‘hysterical and untruthful stories against COVID – 19 government hospitals in Telangana’ which have created an ‘exaggerated picture’ and how this has prevented timely treatment of patients.
In yet another case of coming to TRS’ defence, on 10th of July, he tweeted large excerpts of the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s statement of ‘regret’ over the demolition of masjids in the Secretariat Campus, and even welcomed this statement.
It is a significant indication that it is after this particular episode that his timeline sees a local resuscitation of sorts. He went to the Unani Hospital to get tested. He then issued statements in the form of photos and videos released on Twitter asking the residents of Hyderabad to get tested. On 12th of July, he held an online meeting with his party members to step up coronavirus containment measures.
All in all, Asaduddin Owaisi has offered precious little criticism over the Telangana Government’s handling of the COVID – 19 pandemic on his Twitter timeline, as he has done with the Bharatiya Janata Party government in New Delhi. He has seldom offered his sharp, witty and critical analysis of the COVID – 19 situation of the Old City of Hyderabad on social media. Had he done this, it would have helped the residents of Hyderabad, the people of Telangana and his over 1.4 million twitter followers a huge service.
The silence of Asaduddin Owaisi equals the lackadaisical approach he has taken towards the people of Hyderabad and Telangana in general. The TRS government firstly did not do its duty in a pandemic of unprecedented nature as it should have. It wasted the entire lockdown period in doing almost nothing for the people. Then it is also accused of falsifying the data of the afflicted persons. The point here is when the private clinics and hospitals provided the Covid testing results they steeply higher than what the government sources had been claiming. Therefore, the private hospitals were asked to stop testing. They were also accused of falsifying the data.
In a situation like this while people appreciate the support MIM is providing to the TRS government, they also expect it to carry out the job of an honest and biggest opposition party. Asaduddin Owaisi should realize this reality.