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Few takers for new Muslim political fronts

india Updated: Jun 21, 2006 01:04 IST
M Hasan

THE FORMATION of the People's Democratic Front (PDF) and the UP United Democratic Front (UPUDF) has created a piquant situation for Muslim community. Both fronts have been making tall claims about mobilisation of the “Ummah” (community) and “ridding it of exploitation”. But, unity has been elusive because of a clash of interests.

Suspicious of the intentions of front leaders, the community is yet to react favorably to formation of the two organisations.   

While the fledgling PDF led by Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad has been desperately trying to gain ground, the UPUDF of Delhi Jama Masjid Imam Ahmad Bukhari is virtually leaderless in the State. The PDF will hold a conference in Kaisarganj (Bahr-aich) on Tuesday.

Though various Muslim organizations, like the Parcham Party of India, the Muslim League, the Muslim Majlis Mushwarat, the National Loktantrik Party and others, attended a Delhi conference on June 10, Bukhari failed to get any leader of stature to head the UPUDF. The Arshad Madni-led Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH), which had openly associated itself with Maulana Badruddin Ajmal's Assam United Democratic Front, has distanced itself from both the PDF and the UDF in UP.

Similarly, the Milli Council, the political wing of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), has also been dithering in joining Bukhari's front.

The council was involved in pre-election surveys to “guide the community” in the past.

Moreover, AIMPLB president Maulana Rabe Hasani Nadvi is not available for politics. Thus, the field has been left open to little known people, who don't have acceptability in all sections. While a section of the Shias has accepted Kalbe Jawad as a leader, others are yet to reconcile to his new political “avatar”. They want to see him only as a religious leader on the pulpit. Some rootless people have joined him to serve their vested interests.

Bukhari had sent former Union Minister CM Ibrahim and Rahat Mahmood Chaudhury last week to sort out differences with Jawad. But, there was no breakthrough. There is a feeling in the Bukhari group that a strong Muslim front cannot emerge without Jawad. Other Shia clerics are not ready to join active politics. “We are waiting for his response,” Rahat Chaudhury said on Monday. 

A paucity of acceptable leaders in UP has made the Bukhari group's task difficult.

Having hobnobbed with various political parties, including the BJP, in the past, Bukhari has lost clout in the State.