Mumbai: Need secular forces to join hands to thwart BJP in LS polls, say Muslim leadershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-need-secular-forces-to-join-hands-to-thwart-bjp-in-ls-polls-say-muslim-leaders-5623413/

Mumbai: Need secular forces to join hands to thwart BJP in LS polls, say Muslim leaders

Following a meeting with Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi, a delegation of Muslim religious leaders is set to meet Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and urge him to form a coalition with the SP in the state.

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Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi. (Express Archive)

Muslim clerics and leaders from across Mumbai on Tuesday stressed on the need for secular forces to come together to defeat the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Following a meeting with Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi, a delegation of Muslim religious leaders is set to meet Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and urge him to form a coalition with the SP in the state. They are also likely to seek at least one seat for the SP to contest on.

Azmi claimed that the SP has a stronghold over Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central, Bhiwandi, Mumbai North West and Mumbai North Central constituencies, but the Congress was unwilling to give up any of the five seats.

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“The Congress has offered us Mumbai North and Jalna, but the SP is not ready,” SP corporator Rais Shaikh said.

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The Mumbai North constituency came under the BJP regime in 2014 after Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam lost to Gopal Shetty. The Jalna LS seat was also won by the BJP in last Lok Sabha polls.

Maulana Mahmood Ahmed Daryabadi, secretary of All India Ulama Council, said, “We want secular parties to come together. The Samajwadi Party is demanding one seat in Maharashtra, if they get it, they are willing to make the Congress-NCP their ally.” Daryabadi said that in absence of a strong coalition, Muslim votes may split between these parties.

Syed Athar Ali, member of Personal Law Board, said that unlike last elections, Muslim votes must not be divided. Muslim clerics claimed that the “Modi wave” which had lured several Muslim voters in 2014, is “missing this time”.