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To wean Muslims away from the Samajwadi Party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Lok Dal is trying to mobilise Muslims in its favour through their clerics.
While the party's national general secretary and Mathura MP Jayant Chaudhary's meeting with Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari recently hit the headlines, the party also held its first seminar on — UP ki siyasat aur Musalman — today.
On April 28, Jayant had met Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, Imam of Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow. A day earlier, he had visited Deoband in Saharanpur. He also had telephonic conversations with the clerics of Nadwa in Lucknow through party state president Munna Singh Chauhan.
While Mahali was invited to preside over today's seminar, Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawwad, who is Imam-e-Jumaat at the Shahi Asafi Mosque, Lucknow, was the special guest. Both noted clerics, however, skipped the programme. Chauhan denied to comment on their absence.
Shahi Imam of Noida C M Mustafa, Maulana Bulandshah Zafar, UP president of All India Muslim Society M A Hasib and other clerics addressed the gathering. They said the SP government has failed to fulfill the promises it had made to Muslims before the Assembly elections.
Talking to The Indian Express, Jayant said more such seminars would be organised in other parts of the state, particularly western UP, where Muslims are in large numbers. The meetings will "expose" the failure of the Akhilesh Yadav's government to protect the rights of Muslims. "RLD need the support of Muslims and wants to associate with them before the Lok Sabha elections," Jayant Chaudhary said. The party is eyeing a possible Jat-Muslim equation.
The Mathura MP said he was meeting Muslim clerics to list out the problems of the community. He said there was a sense of dissatisfaction among the minority community and they remained socially, economically and educationally backward. "Muslims are not feeling safe in SP government," he added.