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 the SP office in Lucknow Monday to convey their support to the SP chief.
“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 Monday morning when several buses and other vehicles carrying clerics and people from Azamgarh arrived at the SP office and met Mulayam. Sources claimed that mining minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati too was present during the meeting.
Arrival of clerics in good numbers at the 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. The SP is worried at Rashadi’s decision to contest against Mulayam,” Nizamuddin Khan, media in-charge of RUC said.
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.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.