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If Modi can be CM, why can?t Salem be MLA: Qureshi

HAJ AND Minority Welfare Minister Yaqoob Qureshi on Tuesday said there was no reason why mafia don Abu Salem could not become an MLA if Narendra Modi, who he held responsible for thousands of deaths, could be Gujarat Chief Minister. He called Salem a lesser-known criminal.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 01:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
None
Hindustantimes
         

HAJ AND Minority Welfare Minister Yaqoob Qureshi on Tuesday said there was no reason why mafia don Abu Salem could not become an MLA if Narendra Modi, who he held responsible for thousands of deaths, could be Gujarat Chief Minister.  He called Salem a lesser-known criminal.

He was responding to a question on whether the Uttar Pradesh United Democratic Front would offer a ticket to Salem to contest the Vidhan Sabha election.

He said unless one was convicted, he could not be debarred from contesting an election. Abu Salem was never convicted, he added. 

Talking to mediapersons, Qureshi lashed out at the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and others who “garnered minority votes in the name of secularism” and forgot about the community after they came to power.

He claimed the UDF was gaining popularity and would work for all sections of the society.

He said that as an Opposition leader in 1985, Mulayam Singh Yadav had said Muslims would be given their due share in the Provincial Armed Constabulary, but this was yet to happen.

He hit out at Urban Development Minister Mohd Azam Khan for having said that the Kashi Naresh and the Rampur Nawab were brokers of the British.

Qureshi said Kashi Naresh Vibhuti Narain Singh was a noble personality, who did a lot for temples, mosques and gurudwaras. The Kashi Naresh donated land to the BHU, he said.

State UDF president Yusuf Qureshi, Ram Singh and other leaders were also present on the occasion. Members of the minority community thronged the Circuit House to welcome the minister.

BJP takes umbrage at Yaqoob’s statement

TAKING STRONG exception to the reported statement of Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, a minister in the Mulayam Cabinet, in which the minister supported Abu Salem’s candidature and drew a parallel between him and Lal Krishna Advani, State BJP today said that such a minister could exist only in Mulayam regime.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, State BJP president Keshari Nath Tripathi regretted that Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was ignoring provocative and communal statements of his Cabinet colleagues because of the minority vote bank but it could prove costly for the State, its people and for Mulayam himself in the long term, he said.

Demanding clarification from the chief minister on the irresponsible and provocative statement of his minister, which could vitiate communal atmosphere, Tripathi said that people had seen the real communal face of the Samajwadi Party and they would give a befitting reply in the coming Vidhan Sabha elections.