Ulema Council will back Kejriwal or Ansari in Varanasi
It’s official. Rashtriya Ulema Council (RUC) chairman Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni will contest against Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh in Azamgarh in the Lok Sabha elections.
Maulana Rashadi said on Saturday that the decision was approved by the RUC parliamentary board. He said his fight would be against “injustice” to Muslims.
In neighbouring Varanasi, where the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is in the fray, the RUC would support either Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party or Mukhtar Ansari of the Quami Ekta Dal.
“The Ulema Council does not want the Muslim vote to be divided in Varanasi,” the Maulana told reporters here. The RUC president parried a query on the possibility of division of secular votes helping the BJP in Azamgarh now that he has decided to throw his hat into the ring in the eastern U.P. constituency.
Besides contesting from 22 other constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, the RUC will field its candidates in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
Maulana Rashadi blamed Mr. Mulayam Singh for using Muslims as a vote bank. He said the Muslims considered Mr. Singh their masiha (messiah) but he “displayed only opportunism.”
Claiming that Azamgarh, which has 2.65 lakh Muslim voters, is the RUC’s pocket borough, he said Mr. Singh had in effect challenged the council. After the SP chief declared his candidature from Azamgarh, the RUC parliamentary board, backed by the demand of party workers, decided to pit him against Mr. Singh, the Maulana said.
Describing the SP as “anti-Muslim,” Maulana Rashadi said Muslims, despite voting overwhelmingly for the party and enabling it to form a government on its own in the State, were feeling insecure and cheated under the present regime.
“The excesses committed against Muslims under the SP government exceeded the atrocities against Muslims by the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat in 2002,” he added.
He demanded dismissal of the Akhilesh Yadav government following the Supreme Court’s observation on its failure to prevent the Muzaffarnagar riots.