With an aim to put votebank politics to rest,Muslims of the state,particularly Deobandi sect of Sunni Muslims,are set to float a new political party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The front,which is yet to be named,held its first rally in Meerut on Monday,which will be followed by another in Lucknow on February 20. The name of the front is likely to be announced in Lucknow.
Those who played a pivotal role in proposing the front are perfume king Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and Azamgarh-based Ulema council led by Maulana Amir Rasadi Nadvi,which had last month taken a trainload of protestors to New Delhi. Beside Ulema council, National Loktantrik Party led by Mohammed Arshad Khan,Parcham Party and few other Muslim outfits are also associated with the move.
Muslims are frustrated with not just BJP but all political parties who for years have been using us as a votebank. So we have decided to come on one platform, said Peerjada Ahmed Salim Khan of the Parcham Party. It will be a pre-election alliance of political parties and not just individuals,as it happened prior to the 2007 Assembly election when the Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) was hijacked by Yusuf Qureshi, added Khan. Qureshi is the brother of Haji Yakoob Qureshi,who contested and won the 2007 assembly election as a PDF candidate and later merged the party with the BSP.
Maulana Ajmal is the founder of the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF),whose party had won 13 seats in the 2005 Assembly polls. Ajmal has already announced their plan of setting up a pan-Indian Muslim party,with units in Maharashtra,Uttar Pradesh,Bihar and Jharkhand. He has also indicated that the AUDF will contest 20 seats in UP,10 in Maharastra and nine in Assam.
The Meerut rally is being organised by Shahid Akhlaque,who was elected to Lok Sabha in 2004 on a BSP ticket,but later defected to Samajwadi Party (SP). It was only after he was refused a ticket from SP for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls that Akhlaque floated the Secular Ekta Party. The rally in Lucknow will be organised by the Ulema council.
The same day,the ulema council will be organising a protest demonstration against the alleged prosecution of the Muslims youth of Azamgarh,particularly of Sanjarpur town, after the Batala House encounter in Delhi. Maulan Badruddin Ajmal has confirmed his participation in the Lucknow rally, said Maulana Rasadi Nadvi,Convenor of the Ulema council.
It will be a formidable organisation of the Muslims in the forthcoming elections as it will have the backing of all prominent Islamic institutions and organisations of the country,including Dar-ul-Uloom,Deoband,Jamaat-ul-Ulema Hind,Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Nadwa tul Ulema, said Shahid Akhlaque.
This party will not be a Muslim party per se. We will also induct Hindus to our fold. Muslims constitute 23 per cent of the population in UP and Bihar. If each Muslim can add one Hindu to our party,we can be a formidable force, said Mohammed Arshad of the National Loktantrik Party. In the last Lok Sabha polls,Baleshwar Yadav was elected on our ticket while Dinanath Kushawaha was elected to the assembly from Deoria, he added.
Some,however,have criticised the move. I have been invited to the Meerut rally but I do not subscribe to the idea of floating political parties ahead of the polls with issues like Babri Masjid and reservation for Muslims, said Maulana Zulfikar,Sahar mufti of Muzaffarnagar. A separate political front of Muslims is not a practical idea in Uttar Pradesh as there has been a vast difference between the social,economic and political condition of Muslims in UP and that of in Assam, he added.
Such parties and fronts floated ahead of the polls wither away after the polls and their promoters are often seen seeking political rehabilitation either in SP,BSP or in Congress, said Sagir Ahmed,a socialist leader based in Moradabad.