With the Lok Sabha polls round the corner,a new political front of Muslims,dominated by the Deoband sect of Sunni Muslims,is in the offing.
The name of the front,of which the prime movers are Assam-based perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and the Ulema Council led by Maulana Amir Rasadi Nadvi,will be announced in Lucknow on February 20 where the party will hold a rally.
The same day,the Ulema Council will hold a demonstration against the alleged persecution of Muslim youths of Azamgarh after the Batla House encounter in Delhi. The Council had last month brought clerics via train to Delhi for a rally demanding a probe into the encounter.
Maulana Ajmal,founder of the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF),had already announced the setting up of a pan-India Muslim party,with units in Maharashtra,Uttar Pradesh,Bihar and Jharkhand. Ajmal has also indicated that the AUDF would contest 20 seats in UP,10 in Maharashtra and nine in Assam. The National Loktantrik Party led by Mohammed Arshad Khan,the Parcham Party and a few other Muslim outfits are also associated with the move.
While the Meerut rally is being organised by Shahid Akhlaque,who recently floated the Secular Ekta Party after being denied an SP ticket,the Lucknow rally will be organised by the Ulema council.
It will be a formidable organisation of Muslims in the next election 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 Akhlaque.
We will also keep Hindus in our fold. Muslims constitute 23 per cent of the population in UP and Bihar. If each Muslim can add one Hindu to the party,we can be a formidable force in both the states, claimed Md Arshad,of National Loktantrik Party.
However,there is also skepticism about the front. I have been invited to the Meerut rally but I am against the idea of floating parties ahead of the polls, said Maulana Zulfikar of Muzaffarnagar. Such parties floated ahead of the polls wither away after the polls, said Saghir Ahmed,a socialist leader based in Moradabad.