Azamgarh clerics to field candidates for Lok SabhaJanuary 31st, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Jan 31 (IANS) After a show of strength in New Delhi, Islamic clerics from Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh town have vowed to field candidates during the coming Lok Sabha elections.Upset that Muslim youths from Azamgarh were being repeatedly linked to terror plots, the Azamgarh-based Ulema Council says it will contest from at least a dozen parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
The Council, set up by Maulana Aamir Rashadi, chartered a 24-coach train titled ‘Ulema Express’ all the way to New Delhi earlier in the week for a mammoth protest by Muslims.
The special train returned to Azamgarh Friday with its euphoric 200-odd passengers, drawn largely from local madrasas.
“We have suffered enough at the hands of different political parties who have been using us for their own political ends. Instead of extending our support to them, we have decided to field our own candidates this time,” Maulana Rashadi told IANS over telephone from Azamgarh.
“Several political parties have benefited on account of the support of Uttar Pradesh’s 18.5 percent Muslim population. None have done anything to benefit Muslims and that hurts,” he added.
Seeking a judicial probe into the killing of suspected Muslim terrorists by Delhi Police in the capital’s Jamia Nagar area, the Ulema Council added that it would watch how the central government reacts to its demand.
“But we have made up our mind to contest at least two Lok Sabha seats in Azamgarh district,” the Maulana said. “We will at least have someone to voice our concerns in the highest democratic institution of the country.”
The Muslim vote has been very crucial in Uttar Pradesh politics. While almost all Muslims voted for the Congress for years, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party became their favourite from the 1980-90s.
In the recent years, the Muslim vote has been split between the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
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