A Deoband-based cleric Maulana Suhaib Qasmi has announced his support for BJP prime ministerial Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections. The decision has created a stir in the area with some sporadic protests by local clerics.
Qasmi ruled out the stigma of Gujarat riots on Modi, claiming the court has given him a clean chit. “Then why do we support Congress, which is also responsible for several riots. Supporting Mulayam Singh and Mayawati is indirectly supporting Congress. So better go with the BJP with your set of conditions,” he stated.
“I have studied at Darul Uloom Deoband and have connections. People are coming out in my support. Muslims also want change and are craving for development,” he said.
Qasmi, who heads Jamaat Ulema-e-Hind which claims to have nearly 16,000 Muslim clerics as its members, has also announced to hold a conference of Muslim Ulemas in Saharanpur in the first week of March.
“There is no harm in trying BJP once. We should deliberate on a development agenda for the community while bargaining for support. No personal interest should be there, which is a practice,” he said.
“When the Madani family which includes both uncle-nephew duo Arshad Madani and Mehmood Madani can change their support to different political parties in every election, there is no harm in supporting Modi. We have given the slogan ‘Vote For Change’, Qasmi told The Indian Express.
A native of Bijnore, Qasmi is extensively touring Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Deoband to garner support for Modi.
“I announced my decision publicly on February 24 in Deoband. I am not regretting my decision which I took after interacting with senior BJP leaders including Nitin Gadkari, Tarun Vijay, Indresh Kumar, Ramlal and J P Nadda. “After deliberations with them I decided to support BJP,” he stated.
Qasmi claimed his campaign has support from several local clerics. “You will be surprised when I will organise a conference of clerics. Muslims want to get rid of Madani family who use Deoband seminary for their personal interests. Innocent students are mobilised for their meetings so that they can show crowd,” he said.