Three days after Rashtriya Ulama Council’s (RUC) president Maulana Amir Rashadi announced his candidature from Azamgarh against Mulayam Singh Yadav, a group of clerics under the aegis of Sunni Ulema Council (SUC), a little known organisation from the constituency, reached Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow Monday to convey their support to SP supremo.
“We have support of 85 per cent of Muslims. We are against Rashadi as he had levelled false allegations against Mulayam. We will support Mulayam in Lok Sabha polls. Rashadi stands no chance in Azamgarh,” Maulana Insaf Raza Khan Noori, claiming to be president of SUC told The Indian Express after meeting Mulayam.
However, in the evening, another group from Azamgarh claiming to be original SUC denied extending any such support to Mulayam.
The drama unfolded this morning when several buses and other vehicles carrying clerics and people from Azamgarh arrived at SP office and met Mulayam. Sources claimed that mining minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati too was present during the meeting.
During the meeting, Mulayam reportedly said that he had saved Babri Masjid in 1990 to uphold the constitution. He also favoured a confederation of India-Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mulayam also reminded that hundreds of Muslims were killed in riots in Meerut, Maliana and Moradabad during Congress regime earlier while Muzaffarnagar riots were controlled in two days and relief was provided. He said that if BJP is defeated in UP, Narendra Modi will not be able to become PM. He also alleged that BJP and BSP have unbreakable bond while Congress role is under suspicion.
The clerics, after emerging from the meeting, remained focused on Azamgarh and Rashadi’s candidature. Noori admitted that it became necessary to show their solidarity with Mulayam after Rashadi’s candidature. “Rashadi had also levelled allegations against Mulayam. We oppose his comments,” Noori claimed.
He also claimed that SUC has members across UP and will support SP in Lok Sabha polls. The clerics who arrived at SP office also hailed from other districts besides Azamgarh. Some of them confided that earlier they were with Rashadi.
Arrival of clerics in good numbers at SP office created ripples as minister Gayatri Prajapati told mediapersons that Rashadi’s party RUC has been divided after he announced his candidature.
RUC, however, contradicted SP’s claims immediately. “We have no relations with SUC as we are a political party. Some bogus people with skull caps were presented before Mulayam. SP is worried at Rashadi’s decision to contest against Mulayam,” Nizamuddin Khan, media in-charge of RUC told The Indian Express.
While SP leaders were patting their back for a successful meeting of clerics with Mulayam, another group claiming to be original Sunni Ulema Council based at Azamgarh emerged.
“Ours is the original SUC founded in 2002. Those who met Mulayam are imposters. We never indulge in offering support or opposing any political leader,” Haji Mohammad Salees claiming to be general secretary of the organisation said and added that clerics should desist from approaching political leaders during elections in garb of religious leaders.