Ulema council splits ahead of polls
Mumbai, Jan 30: Ahead of the crucial February 1 civic polls, the All India Ulema Council, the apex body of Muslim community, has split with a section of members urging them to vote for the Nationalist Congress Party.
Earlier, the council had decided to support the Ramdas Athawale-floated Third Front, of which Samajwadi Party is a member. However, its founder secretary gave a call today to vote for the NCP, saying Sharad Pawar's party was the only political outfit, which can resist the communal forces in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.
Maulana Abdul Salam Khan Qasmi, the founder secretary of All India Ulema Council said, they were very much impressed by the policies of Mr Pawar and his NCP.
''We appreciate Pawarsaab very much. And also the important fact to be noted is that the party does not play with communal sentiments,'' he said.
Earlier, some members of the council had lent support to the Third Front floated in Mumbai.
However, Maulana Qasmi said he personally met members of all the political parties in Maharashtra and held detailed discussions with them.
In this regard, he also met noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon, who is also the national general secretary of NCP, whom the Maulana said had convinced him that NCP is the only political party which can tackle the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
''We are sure that communal forces, which has been ruling Mumbai for over a decade now, would be ousted by the NCP in the coming elections,'' he said, adding that NCP will definitely emerge as the single largest party after the polls like in case of the last assembly elections.
''The Third Front does not exist at all. Their people are contesting against each other and it would result in strengthening the communal forces. We do not want that,'' he said, in reference to the third front.
''We are with NCP and I appeal, not only to the members of the Muslim community, but also people from other religion to vote for the NCP,'' Maulana Qasmi said.
Maulana Qasmi also said that he had gone through the manifesto of the NCP in detail and was really impressed how development oriented the party was. ''Moreover, we have a complete faith in Sharad Pawar,'' he said.
Besides the All India Ulema Council, other organizations and people which have given a call to vote for the NCP are United Democratic Front of Assam's leader Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, Maulana Noor-uz Zaman Noorani Misbahi of Islamic Council, Maulana Sharif Salfi of Hilal Educational Society and Dr Mustafa Qasmi of Shahidan Academy.