'SP sponsored UP riots to corner Muslim votes'
Lucknow, July 5: Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari today alleged the ruling Samajwadi Party had triggered communal riots in Mau, Aligarh and other places in up to garner Muslim votes.
''We have specific information that the Mulayam Singh Yadav government plotted the communal violence at Mau, Aligarh and other places after they feared erosion of Muslim votes from the party,'' he added.
Addressing the first ever conference of the United Democratic Front (UDF), floated on June 10, the Maulana said both the Congress and SP were equally responsible for the plight of Muslims.
''In his chat with Amar Singh over telephone, which was made public in a CD, Mr Yadav had clearly mentioned there were plans to muster Muslim votes,'' Maulana Bukhari claimed.
Narrating in detail the ''anti-Muslim'' attitude of the Congress, he said the Congress be held responsible for the Gujarat incident, ''where thousands of Muslims died during the post Godhra riots.'' He said it was high-time for the community to elect such people in the coming UP assembly elections, who would fight for their cause.
Calling upon Muslims not to get influenced by political parties, he said UDF was formed to fight for the cause of the Muslims and would not allow vested interests to take them for granted.
UDF has roped in controversial state minister Haji Yakoob Quesreshi in its fold even though he did not attend the conference.
Haji's elder brother Yusuf Quereshi, who represented him, is set to be made the president of UDF state unit.
Yusuf in his maiden speech criticised the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime for its failure in giving any facilities to Muslims and termed the announcements by the state government as an ''eye-wash''.
Maulana Bukhari informed the UDF might forge an alliance with another parellel Muslim body the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) set up by Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad.
Former union minister C M Ibrahim, chairman of the UDF, was also present in the conference.
Meanwhile, UP Congress president Salman Khurshid contradicted the allegation of Maulana Bukhari claiming there was a long list of facilities provided to Muslims by the Congress government in the past 58 yrs.