The Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, on Friday appealed to people to vote for the AAP in the election to the Delhi Assembly but the offer of support was swiftly rejected by Arvind Kejriwal’s party.
"We don't need the support of a man who did not invite India's prime minister but invited Pakistan's prime minister for his son's anointment. One has to respect the prime minister of the country," senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh told a news conference.
During his sermon at the Friday prayers, the controversial Shahi Imam had called on people to vote for the AAP in the polls on Saturday. The AAP and the BJP are the main contenders for power in the elections.
But AAP leaders described Bukhari's politics as “regressive and communal” and condemned the ideology he represents.
"AAP wants to finish off communal politics. We want to finish off what the imam stands for. We want the support of every common man," said AAP leader Ashish Khaitan.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley too reacted to Bukhari’s remarks by saying: "Shahi Imam Bukhari's diktat to support the AAP may backfire."
Last year, Bukhari had sent an invitation to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif for a ceremony to appoint his son as his successor. He had also said he was not inviting prime minister Narendra Modi as he had “no place” in his heart for the BJP leader.