Lucknow: Throwing his weight behind Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Maulana Ahmad Bukhari on Saturday appealed to Muslims to vote for SP candidates in upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.
But the Imam's appeal has significantly not gone down well within the SP itself when the party's Muslim face Azam Khan seemed to question the cleric's political loyalties.
"Imam has plunged into political discussion by supporting the Samajwadi Party. But our party disapproves those characters or groups who shower praise on the Congress and the BJP when they are in power," Azam said in Rampur.
At a joint press conference in Lucknow with Mulayam, Bukhari said the SP chief had promised him that his party would work for betterment of Muslims in the event of its returning to power in the state.
Therefore, Muslims should ensure victory of Samajwadi Party candidates, he said.
Mulayam on his part said, "I will try to prove myself worthy of the expectations of Muslims and Imam Saheb."
Bukhari alleged that the Congress was mainly responsible for the poor state of Muslims in the country, "During several rounds of meetings with me, the SP chief has promised me that he will ensure justice to Muslims. I appeal to the community and those with the secular mindset to ensure victory of SP nominees in the state Assembly election," Bukhari said, adding, the Mayawati-led BSP had also done nothing for Muslims".
Congress leader Digvijay Singh said Muslims in UP will not be misled by the Imam's appeal, alleging he was a communal person, who at one time supported Osama Bin Laden and in 2004 issued fatwa in favour of BJP.
"Muslims of UP will not get misled by Bukhari," Singh said in Bahraich when a newsman sought his reaction to Imam's appeal.
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that people would give a befitting reply to those "bowing at the door of Batla house to Bukhari house" with an eye on votes.