Bukhari again cosies up to SP, says Muslims need to defeat Cong, BJP
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The love-hate relationship between Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, and the Samajwadi Party (SP) has got a fresh twist with the cleric hinting that Muslims can come closer to the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh provided it takes firm decisions in community's interest.
Bukhari, who had sometime ago termed the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP "utter failure", also justified his new-found closeness to SP on grounds that Muslims need to defeat BJP and Congress.
"In Uttar Pradesh, the alternative is between SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). We need to choose one between them. Right now, I cannot take any name and let me have talks with them," he told The Indian Express.
The cleric said he recently had talks with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav when the latter attended a marriage ceremony in Bukhari's family in Delhi.
"I had serious discussions with Akhilesh Yadav at my residence. Several Muslim issues were discussed and soon I will be meeting him at Lucknow to take the final call," Bukhari told The Indian Express.
The "Muslim issues" remain the same ? compensation to riot victims, representation of Muslims in various government bodies and posting of Muslim officers at important government posts.
Bukhari, who had recently blasted the state government for its failure to control the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts, however, chose not to talk on the issue. "We need better rehabilitation of riot victims. Safety of Muslims had always been my agenda. I do not need anything for myself," he said.
However, the cleric remained bitterly against state minority welfare minister Azam Khan, the Muslim face of the SP. "Tell me if any Muslim body under him has been constituted. Who is at the loss due to the delay? SP should take the decision whether they want Muslim community or a particular Muslim person," he added.