A recent meeting between BSP MP and zonal coordinator (western region), Munquad Ali and Bareilly-based cleric Tauqeer Raza Khan has fuelled speculations about the latter joining BSP. Raza recently snapped ties with SP and also relinquished the minister of state status accorded to him by the Akhilesh Yadav government.
“It was formal meeting. Munquad Ali visited me at my Bareilly residence last week. I cannot comment on the future as my agenda is to prevent communal forces in the upcoming elections,” Raza said. Munquad Ali too confirmed meeting Raza.
However, despite their old relations, as claimed by both Raza and Munquad, it was the first time that the latter had visited the cleric’s house in Bareilly. Raza, meanwhile, said he “is keeping all options open”.
“I can align with any secular front. This was the first time that Munquad Ali came to my house. It is too premature to say that I am aligning with BSP. They have their own system of declaring things,” Raza said.
The cleric is also the president of Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IMC), which had announced support to SP in the coming Lok Sabha elections. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, IMC had supported Congress, which won the Bareilly seat.
“BSP has dropped Sudheer Maurya from Bareilly. I am not going to contest, but want to see communal forces defeated,” Raza said.
Sources said Bareilly was the bone of contention between Raza and SP. Raza was against SP fielding Ayesha Islam, wife of MLA Shahzil Islam who had won as IMC candidate, but switched to SP.