May 20, 2016 1:13:54 am
The Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmad Bukhari, Thursday met Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and asked them why there was no Muslim candidate in the party’s list of seven candidates for Rajya Sabha polls. While asking them to make space for “at least one Muslim candidate”, Bukhari also expressed unhappiness over the ruling party’s decision to repeat sitting MLC Bukkal Nawab. He asked Mulayam to give the ticket to any other “intelligent and responsible Muslim” who could represent the community better.
“I expressed my displeasure for not including a Muslim candidate for Rajya Sabha elections. This sends a wrong message. At least there should be one Muslim in SP’s Rajya Sabha list to represent the community. The candidate is supposed to see, hear and speak in the House and raise the issues of the community,” Bukhari told The Indian Express after the meeting at Mulayam’s residence here.
Asked about SP chief’s response, Bukhari said Mulayam “has assured to look into the matter” because the party has already released the list. Bukhari claimed that he did not recommend any specific name for Rajya Sabha candidature.
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The Samajwadi Party recently announced the list of its RS candidates which included Amar Singh, Beni Prasad Verma and Lucknow-based realtor Sanjay Seth. In an apparent reference to Amar Singh, Bukhari said, “I have said that a person repeated in the Rajya Sabha list is not liked by anyone.”
Bukhari also said that nobody in the community takes the Muslim candidate (Bukkal Nawab) for Legislative Council seriously and even then, the SP has decided to re-send him to the Upper House. “This Muslim candidate has no identity or following in the community. Nobody takes him seriously. SP should have a better candidate,” Bukhari said.
During the meeting, Bukhari “reminded” the leaders of their promises like reservation for Muslims, speedy trial of cases involving Muslims jailed on terrorism charges, opening of Urdu medium schools in minority areas and recruitment of Muslims in police force. He said the SP may face Assam-like situation — where BJP defeated Congress in the Assembly polls — if the promises made to Muslims were not fulfilled before 2017 Assembly polls.
“If he cannot give 18 per cent reservation, he should work for providing at least three to five per cent reservation to Muslims. I told Mulayam that Assembly elections are coming closer and meeting the poll promises was necessary to keep getting the support of Muslims,” the Shahi Imam added.
Bukhari also said that except one promise of erecting boundary walls around graveyards, no other promise made to Muslims has been fulfilled so far. “I have reports that these walls of graveyards have been demolished in several districts. Even graves are being damaged for encroachment,” Bukhari claimed.
He further said that he had supported SP in 2012 Assembly polls and hence wants that results in the next polls to be in the party’s favour, but that will be possible only when all the promises have been fulfilled.
Bukhari claimed that he has met Mulayam and Akhilesh at least 20 times in past four years to remind them of their poll promises. “I will be meeting Mulayam again after 15 days. By that time, Mulayam has assured to collect reports of the works that state government has done for Muslims,” he added.
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