A day before the first phase of Assembly polls in UP, several Muslim clerics and leaders have come out in support of BSP, with many appealing to the community to not vote for the SP-Congress alliance. They include clerics such as Delhi Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari and Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad in Lucknow. On Saturday, polling is set to be held in 73 seats in western UP, which have a dominant Muslim population.
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On Friday, Shia cleric Jawwad said only BSP was capable of defeating the SP-Congress alliance. This came a few hours after he met BSP chief Mayawati at her residence in Lucknow. Alleging that while police had lathicharged ulemas in the Akhilesh regime, Congress too has committed atrocities on the community, he told reporters: “We decided to support any party that can defeat the SP-Congress alliance. In our survey, we found that only BSP was in a position to defeat this alliance… The Akhilesh government has not given anything to the Shia community except lathicharge and jail in the last five years.”
“We have decided. Voting will be held tomorrow and Muslims and other secular forces will support BSP… Akhilesh ki nigaah me sirf Musalman mafia hai (According to Akhilesh, only Muslims are mafia)… He did not take action against mafias because they were not Muslims,” he added. Jawwad said that during his 30-minute meeting with Mayawati, the BSP chief assured him that Muslims would get their rights and representation in the government if her party comes to power. When contacted, he said he had received a message from Mayawati, which said that she wanted to meet him.
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This came a day after Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmad Bukhari, appealed to the Muslims to vote out SP from power and look for an alternative, which can provide a better law and order and keep communal forces at bay. Bukhari also accused the SP of ignoring the interests of Muslims.
The Aligarh Muslim University students’ union too has appealed to Muslims and the student fraternity to support BSP. “The Akhilesh government did not distribute laptops in AMU. Police lathicharged us when we staged a demonstration on the issue of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed. In his rally in Aligarh, Akhilesh addressed the community as a minority and did not use word ‘Muslims’,” said students’ union president Faizul Hasan.