As Muzaffarnagar limps back to normalcy and Muslims anger against Samajwadi Party simmers in western UP,the question being asked is who will now reign over the minority vote bank.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had already been meeting the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid,Syed Ahmed Bukhari. RLD chief Ajit Singhs son Jayant has had at least two meetings with Bukhari,seeking his endorsement to forge a Jat-Muslim alliance in western Uttar Pradesh that was instrumental in the rise of Chaudhury Charan Singh.
Jayant did meet me a couple of times. He talked about forging a Muslim-Jat alliance in western Uttar Pradesh and asked me to endorse RLD among Muslims, Bukhari told The Indian Express.
Bukhari,whose son-in-law Umar Ali had been an MLC elected on an SP ticket,fell out with SP after the return of Azam Khan to SP. The immediate reason was denial of permission to Bukhari to visit the family of Kunda DSP Zia ul Haq shot dead in March but tension had been simmering between the cleric and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with the former reportedly unhappy about the importance of Khan after his return.
Bukhari was critical of CM Akhilesh Singhs governance and snapped ties with SP soon after the DSP was killed. Sources say that is is when RLD started approaching Bukhari.
Over the last month or so,the SP administration has gone from bad to worse. They first revived a dead organisation like VHP by refusing permission for 84 kosi parikrama when,had they allowed it,not even 200 people would have attended. On the other hand,in Muzaffarnagar,a days toll equalled a days toll in Gujarat in 2002 and there were reports of police complicity too, Bukhari said.
Jayant confirmed he met not only with Bukhari but also some prominent clerics in Lucknow. I last met the Shahi Imam a couple of months ago. We talked about issues affecting the community. He was extremely critical of the SP government in Uttar Pradesh. It is a process of engagement that we have started with the community. We had been getting encouraging signs on the ground too. The talks with the Shahi Imam were very positive, said the Mathura MP.
Bukhari claims he turned down Jayants request about endorsing RLD because he is not convinced about the partys hold over its core Jat base. Charan Singh could get Jats to vote for a Muslim candidate… I do not think Ajit Singh has the kind of hold where he can ensure Jat votes for Muslim candidates at his behest, Bukhari said.
Beni: have proof SP behind clashes
Barabanki: Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday said he has sufficient evidence to prove that the SP was behind the Muzaffarnagar violence. Verma alleged that 50 riots had so far taken place under the SP regime,in which 150 Muslims were killed. He said would continue his agitation over the deteriorating law and order situation in UP till SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav quit politics and the government led by his son was ousted from power. PTI
Azam: villagers safe return soon
Lucknow: Concerned over large-scale displacement of people from Muzaffarnagar,UP government on Monday said that a plan has been chalked out to ensure their safe return. Urban Development Minister Azam Khan said: Government has worked out a plan for the safe return of those living in camps and it would be implemented soon. He said areas where number of any community is too low or where they live in remote villages,houses at safe places will be arranged for them very soon. PTI