The 13-party alliance headed by prominent cleric Maulana Salman Nadwi to consolidate Muslim and OBC votes has lasted only as many days.
On Monday, Ekta Manch, a conglomerate of small regional parties formed on December 27, last year, announced severing of its ties with Peace Party, arguably the most recognised outfit of the 13-party front. Thirteen maybe an unlucky number but history was only repeating itself as a similar effort to forge a unity by forming a Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) of little known political groups withered in 2006.
“Dr Ayub (national president of Peace Party) has broken the accord. Not only has he given tickets to tainted candidates but he is also reportedly charging money for it,” alleged Maulana Salman Nadwi, when contacted by Hindustan Times. Calls made to Dr Ayub by HT to get his version remained unanswered.
The multi-party front had shot into limelight when it had managed to rope in Maulana Salman as its convenor. A lecturer at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulema and hailing from an eminent family of religious scholars, who have assiduously shunned politics, Maulana Salman’s decision to take the plunge caused both shock and awe, specially among the clergy.
“We had unanimously agreed on certain principles and criteria that were to be adopted for seat sharing and allocation of tickets. Without consulting us Dr Ayub has struck an alliance with Apna Dal and Bundelkhand Congress headed by Raja Bundela and distributed 403 seats among themselves,” said Mohd Asim, secretary of the Ekta Manch. Today, Peace Party’s general secretary has unilaterally said that they are going to contest on 350 assembly seats in the state, he said.
In a signed statement, the Manch has said that it had been receiving a lot of complaints from its alliance partners raising strong objections over the functioning of Peace Party and the manner in which it was fielding candidates with criminal background. Admitting that Peace Party was a major player, Asim, however, said its ouster would not have much affect on the morale of the Manch.
“We started off with a 13-party formation but today have the support of at least 30 political outfits,” he asserted. The Manch, he said, would convene a press conference in a day or two to make its stand and strategy clear.