New Delhi, July 20 : Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Shahid Siddiqui's defection to the Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) just three days before the crucial trust vote in the Lok Sabha, has left Muslim community leaders dismayed.
Criticizing Siddique for his political about turn and his use of his opposition to the India-US civilian nuclear cooperation deal as a tool, the Muslim leaders are of the unanimous view that he has communalized the deal issue.
The Asian Age newspaper quoted Mahmood Madani, the general secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind and a Rajya Sabha member belonging to Mr Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal, as saying: "It is wrong to say that Muslims are opposed to the deal. It can go against the country but how can it go against the Muslim community? We can be against the deal as Indians, but not as Muslims."
Mujtaba Farooq, secretary (community and national affairs) of the Jamaat-E-Islami-Hind said that to say that the nuclear deal is against the Muslim community is wrong.
Farooq drew attention to the fact that the Samajwadi Party, which was earlier opposed to the deal, is now supporting it, and described it as a clear case of rank opportunism.
On Siddiqui's changed stance, he remarked, "He wants to use the issue politically."
S. Q.R, Ilyas, a member of the Central Advisory Council of the Jamaat-E-Islami-Hind, was quoted by the paper as saying that: "The majority of the community is opposed to the deal not because they are Muslims but because it is against national interest. The deal is not a Muslim issue. To identify it with a particular community is not correct." (ANI with Asian Age inputs)