HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

For Muslims, choice between Cong, AAP

Nivedita Khandekar and Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 03, 2014
First Published: 01:25 IST(3/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(3/4/2014)

A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed for a “united move” to stop the so-called “secular vote from splitting”, the opinion among Delhi’s Muslims is divided over who they would support.

But most are clear that the BJP is not an option. Mufti M Mukarram Ahmed, the influential Imam of Masjid Fatehpuri, however, felt the Muslim vote would be divided equally among the Congress and AAP.

“Scores of Muslims from northeast Delhi had gone to meet BJP president Rajnath Singh with a request to field a Muslim candidate and had in turn promised to support BJP. But that did not happen, so they are angry with the BJP,” Mukarram claimed.
Jama Masjid imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari has formed an 11-member assessment committee to meet different political leaders.

He and his delegation had met Sonia on Tuesday during which she had made that appeal. Anees Jamaee, who is part of this committee, said talks were on with political parties and a formal announcement would be made on Friday.

Although their leaders are in touch with several parties, individual Muslims are still divided over who to vote for. With BJP ruled out, it is now a choice between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

“Kapil Sibal, the Congress candidate from Chandni Chowk, has done a lot for the area. He is quite approachable. Muslims of old Delhi will vote for the Congress,” said Shariq Abbas, a resident of Chandni Mahal.

Muslim organisations too feel that the BJP is not an option. “It is true that there is anger against Congress but many issues concern us apart from corruption. AAP has emerged as an option,” said Abdul Hameed Nomani, secretary of Jamait Ulema-I-Hind.

Tariq Abbas, a resident of Shaheen Bagh, Okhla, said: “We feel cheated by the Congress. Both our sitting MP and MLA are from the Congress, but there has been no development. We now need to look at other options too such as AAP or BSP.”

Yet there are some who are angry with the Congress. Author and television news producer Mehran Zaidi tweeted: “Maulana Khalid Rasheed from Lucknow and Maulana Mukarram from Old Delhi have lambasted Sonia for her appeal to Muslims to vote for Cong.”

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