Terming Akhilesh Yadav government as a big disappointment for minority community, Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, has called a meeting on February 20 in Lucknow against Samajwadi Party government.
Bukhari said after the meeting he will decide about his support to any political party in next year’s Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. In 2012 Assembly polls, Bukhari had issued a clarion call to Muslims for supporting SP and had also shared stage with party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“I had asked Muslims for supporting SP in last assembly polls. Now, I am under immense pressure from Muslim community. They are asking me about what SP government has done for them. I have no way to convince the community as SP has failed to fulfill its promises,” Bukhari told The Sunday Express.
He claimed that despite his several talks and meetings with Mulayam, his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav did not fulfill the promises made for Muslims. “SP and its leaders had made promises before me and had also included them in their poll manifesto. But, none of them have been fulfilled. I also have responsibility as the community voted for them on my appeal. I did my best and wrote letters to Mulayam and even held meeting with him but nothing materialised,” he added.
According to Bukhari, among the issues where SP government failed to deliver include reservation to Muslims in proportion to their population, representation in government bodies, development of Urdu, steps for educational and social welfare of minority community, release of innocents lodged in prison and recruitment of Muslim youths in police force. “Sadly, they have not fulfilled anyone of them. We have called Muslim representatives from various districts of UP to meet in Lucknow on February 20. After the meeting we will decide about our support in the Assembly polls,” he said.
Bukhari shares a blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with SP. Soon after he came out in support of Mulayam-led party in January 2012, Bukhari faced opposition from SP leader Azam Khan. The acrimony further grew with both Azam and Bukhari exchanging words. In the meantime, Bukhari’s son-in-law Umar Ali Khan was nominated as MLC and his close associate Waseem Ahmed was made chairman of UP Pollution Control Board.
Waseem was later removed creating a rift between SP and the Shahi Imam. Later, Bukhari wrote several letters and met Mulayam but the relationship did not attain same warmth. With assembly polls approaching, Bukhari has again raised the issues.