Open to supporting AAP: Shia cleric

Up‘Cong has encroached waqf properties’

While announcing a campaign against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi, respectively, Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad Naqvi Thursday said he could support the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Jawwad is at present Imam-e-Juma at historical Asafi mosque in Lucknow and also member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

Earlier, during the Delhi Assembly elections, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had met Barelvi cleric Tauqeer Raza and got his backing.

Kejriwal, during his Lucknow visit in November 2011, had met another Shia cleric, Kalbe Sadiq, the vice-president of AIMPLB, who lent support for the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. Sadiq is Kalbe Jawwad's uncle.

Both Amethi and Rae Bareli have pockets of Shia population, including Jais and Nasirabad, respectively, where Jawwad reportedly has much influence.

"We have started touring Amethi and Rae Bareli and our meetings attracted decent crowds. We highlighted the misdeeds of the Congress. We will support non-Congress and non-BJP candidates and AAP is a strong choice," Jawwad said on Thursday.

AAP leader Kumar Vishwas has said he is keen on contesting from Amethi against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Jawwad ruled out support to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on grounds that they hardly have any chance of victory in Amethi and Rae Bareli.

Justifying his stiff opposition to the Congress, Jawwad claimed the party had failed to protect waqf properties of Muslims in Delhi. "The Congress-led Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi allowed encroachments on Shah-e-Marda Karabala in Delhi. Most encroachments happened during the Congress regime," he said.

Jawwad has carried out road shows and meetings in Rae Bareli and Amethi to highlight the encroachment of waqf properties in 2012.

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