Mamata will make a better PM for secular India: Bukhari

Kolkata, Feb 24: Ahead of Lok Sabha election, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday received a shot in the arm when Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari today lauded her work for the minorities in West Bengal, and said she would make a better prime minister for secular India than others.

Rubbishing rumours about a covert pact between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress, as alleged by the Congress and Left parties, Bhukari hoped that Banerjee would not go for a post-poll alliance with the BJP.

"After going through the details of the developmental work that she has done for the development of minorities and Muslims in the state, I personally feel India needs a secular leader like her who beleives in work and not lip service," Bhukari said over phone.

"Given her secular credentials, I personally feel that Mamata Banerjee would make a better Prime Minister than others who are in the prime ministerial race in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls," Bhukari said.

Bhukari had written letters to all chief ministers, except those of BJP-ruled states, inquiring about the implementation of recomendations of the Sachar Commission and what practical measures the state governments had taken for the welfare of the Muslim population in their respective states.

"I had written to all chief ministers, except those in BJP-ruled states. But no one of them has bothered to reply to my letter. Only Mamata Banerjee did with a detailed report of the steps the Bengal government has taken for the development of Muslims," Bhukari said.

Bhukari's letter was dated January 30 and Mamata replied to it on February 19 detailing the work she had done for the minorities.

Asked if he felt that Mamata would would go along with the NDA post poll, Bhukari said, "As far as I feel she is a secular leader and will not go with the BJP or the NDA. We hope so."

Coming after Gandhian activist Anna Hazare's good certificate for Mamata Banerjee's candidature for prime minister, Bukhari's praise is very significant coming at a time when Left parties and Congress were persistently hinting at a covert pact between BJP and TMC.

The opposition parties' hint became all the more strident after Narendra Modi blew hot and cold over Mamata Banerjee, apparently with an eye on possible post-poll alliance in his February 5 rally in Kolkata.

Bengal has 27 per cent Muslim population which wields a considerable influence in at least 140 Assembly seats out of 294 in the power sweepstake, courted aggresively by all frontline political parties. Bukhari said that he would visit the state next March.


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