The love-hate relationship between Syed Ahmed Bukhari,the Shahi Imam of Delhis Jama Masjid,and the Samajwadi Party (SP) has got a fresh twist with the cleric hinting that Muslims can come closer to the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh provided it takes firm decisions in communitys interest.
Bukhari,who had sometime ago termed the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP utter failure,also justified his new-found closeness to SP on grounds that Muslims need to defeat BJP and Congress.
In Uttar Pradesh,the alternative is between SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). We need to choose one between them. Right now,I cannot take any name and let me have talks with them, he told The Indian Express.
The cleric said he recently had talks with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav when the latter attended a marriage ceremony in Bukharis family in Delhi.
I had serious discussions with Akhilesh Yadav at my residence. Several Muslim issues were discussed and soon I will be meeting him at Lucknow to take the final call, Bukhari told The Indian Express.
The Muslim issues remain the same ? compensation to riot victims,representation of Muslims in various government bodies and posting of Muslim officers at important government posts.
Bukhari,who had recently blasted the state government for its failure to control the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts,however,chose not to talk on the issue. We need better rehabilitation of riot victims. Safety of Muslims had always been my agenda. I do not need anything for myself, he said.
However,the cleric remained bitterly against state minority welfare minister Azam Khan,the Muslim face of the SP. Tell me if any Muslim body under him has been constituted. Who is at the loss due to the delay? SP should take the decision whether they want Muslim community or a particular Muslim person, he added.
Bukharis bonhomie with Mulayam began in January 2012 before Assembly elections when he issued an appeal to Muslims to support SP. Mulayam reciprocated by inviting Bukhari for swearing in ceremony of Akhilesh. The Shahi Imams son-in-law,Umar Ali Khan,who lost the assembly election from Behat seat in Saharanpur,was nominated as MLC despite opposition from Azam Khan.
Bukharis close aide Waseem Ahmed Khan was also appointed as chairman of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) but was later dislodged - an issue that miffed the Shahi Imam who sent the resignations of Umar and Waseem to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav,which however,were not accepted. Since,then Bukhari had been openly attacking Mulayam and even held a rally of his supporters in SP chiefs native district Etawah.