Assam win has UP Muslims floating own political party
ATIQ KHAN, May 16, 2006
LUCKNOW, MAY 15:Inspired by the success of Badruddin Ajmal’s Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) in the recent Assembly polls, Muslim political outfits and leading scholars in Uttar Pradesh today launched a political party, the Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF), to contest the UP Assembly polls next year.
Bound to queer the political pitch, this move also spells trouble for Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party which counts on Muslims as a major support base.
“The PDF with the Shahi Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, as its patron has been launched to enable the Muslims to share power on the basis of their distinct electoral strength,” PDF president and Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad told reporters.
He said PDF candidates would be fielded in the state polls as “there are 147 constituencies in UP where Muslims can ensure victory of their candidates”. The PDF brings together the All India Muslim Forum, National Loktantrik Party, Momin Conference of India, All India Muslim Majlis, Parcham Party of India and All India Muslim Mashwarat.
According to Jawwad, the doors of PDF were open to other Muslim outfits and it would align with like-minded parties.
“If the Yadavs who constitute 6-7 per cent of UP’s population can rule the state and Dalits with a population of around 13 per cent can taste power, why can’t Muslims, who make 23 per cent of the population, be given their share in politics,” said Jawwad.
Slamming Mulayam Singh, he cited the example of recruitment for 1,800 posts of policemen. “Only 30 Muslims, as against 1,000 Yadavs, were selected,” he claimed.
The PDF has been floated at a time when Mulayam Singh has come under criticism from two of his Muslim ministers, Urban Development Minister Mohd Azam Khan and Minority Welfare Minister Haji Yaqub Qureshi. Though both ministers are at loggerheads, they have been raising the issue of Muslims not being given their due by the Mulayam government.
Muslims of India's largest state float party
By Masood Hasan, The Milli Gazette Online, 16 May 2006
Lucknow: Emboldened by the success of the joint front of the Muslims in the assembly elections in Assam, several Muslim organisations have come together to float a new political party in Uttar Pradesh. Called "People’s Democratic Front" (UDF), it will aim at sharing power in the state government.
The renowned Shia religious leader Maulana Kalbe Jawwad has been unanimously elected its chairman and the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi, Ahamad Bukhari its patron. Leaders of various Muslim organisations convened a meeting here on 15 May. It was presided over by Mufti of Lucknow Maulana Abul Irfan Naimul Haleem. As a result, UDF was formed to act as a Muslim umbrella group to contest the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The chairman of the All-India Muslim Forum Nihaluddin Ahmad announced at a press conference here same day that Maulana Kalbe Jawwad has been unanimously elected chairman of the PDF which is a conglomeration of various Muslim organizations active in the state of Uttar Pradesh. With a population of over 176 million inhabitants, Muslims constitute around 22 percent of the population of this north Indian state.
Later addressing a crowded press conference here same day, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad disclosed that the newly floated political outfit would contest 147 seats in the forthcoming assembly elections in the state which are dominated by Muslims. He said that doors were open for other organisations and political parties keen to shake hands for the cause of their communities.
The Shia cleric revealed that the formation of the PDF was necessary because the political parties make promises to Muslims during the elections only to forget them after coming to power. The political parties use Muslims as their votebank and never fulfill the promises made to them, he added. No government whether it is that of Mulayam Singh or Mayawati had made sincere efforts to revive Urdu language. Instead, they only tried to kill it, he told newsmen.
Kalbe Jawwad said that the success of the meeting could be gauged from the fact that renowned ulama (religious leaders) of the community took part at the meeting. The chairman of the new political front, PDF, Maulana Jawwad demanded appointment of 20 per cent Muslim youths in the police force. He said that the PDF would like to tie up with those political parties which accept its common minimum programme and offer seats to the PDF in the elections in proportion to the Muslim population in the state. He made it clear that he would like to seek guidance from the religious leaders from time to time.
Prominent Muslim organizations which participated in the meeting are the All-India Muslim Forum, Indian National League, Parcham Party of India, Momin Conference, Muslim Majlis, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat and National Loktantrik Party.
Muslim organisations got an inspiration and enthusiasm to float the new political party in Uttar Pradesh after the assembly elections in Assam where a joint front of Muslims won ten seats on the basis of Muslim voters' strength in various areas of the state.
Shia leader launches political party
Abhishek Patni, CNN-IBN, May 17, 2006
Lucknow: With the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh due in 2007, well-known Shia leader Maulana Kalbe Javed on Monday announced his new political party, the People's Democratic Front (PDF).
And if the recent Assembly polls in Assam are anything to go by, the role of Muslims has acquired a new importance in the political equation.
Although a religious leader launching a political outfit has raised some questions, Maulana Kalbe Javed justifies the move by saying, "Muslims have not got their rights. We will fight for that."
Political parties have always seen Muslims as an important vote bank, but since the last two decades, Muslims have drifted away from national parties.
They now support regional parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party.
Now, a group within the Muslim community feels the need of a separate political outfit to redress their problems.
The newly formed PDF is also confident of giving stiff competition to other parties in the upcoming elections in UP.
"There are some 147 seats in UP, where the Muslims could play a vital role in winning elections," claims Javed.
Some Muslims are not in favour of the new party. Secretary of the Islamic Centre of India, Naeemur Rahman Siddiqui feels in the current political situation, Muslims need to be with main-stream parties to fulfill their political ambitions.
"Muslims can come to power only with the backing of the mainline parties," he reasons.
The PDF claims that other organisations such as All India Muslim Forum and National Lok Tantrik Party, among others are supporting them.
At the moment PDF has no organisational base and hence is unlikely to make an impact. But if it can ally with a bigger political party, then SP chief Mulayam Singh may have a reason for a headache.
Uttar Pradesh Muslims join hands against Mulayam
By M.R. Narayan SwamyNew Delhi, May 10 (IANS)
In a significant move ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh next year, Muslim leaders from the state are joining hands to take the community's significant vote away from Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari of the Jama Masjid here is the architect of the polar
isation that could end up benefiting the Samajwadi Party chief's most bitter enemy — Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) leader and former chief minister Mayawati.
Some 25 leaders of 13 Muslim groups – big and small – from Uttar Pradesh gathered at the 17th-century mosque complex Tuesday and made blistering attacks on Yadav, who for long has enjoyed the support of large sections of the country's largest minority.
The leaders have decided to set up a joint Muslim forum to fight the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due in February next year while opening its doors to Dalits, Brahmins and "other oppressed groups".
The outfits that gathered Tuesday included the National League (Uttar Pradesh), National Lok Tantrik Party (Arshad group), Muslim Forum, Momin Conference, Muslim Majlis (Uttar Pradesh), Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (Uttar Pradesh), Rashtriya Awami Dal, Haksar Tehreek and All India Muslim League (Secular).
"Some of these groups enjoy support in just one district of Uttar Pradesh and others in three or four," Bukhari told IANS, underlining that the 20 percent of Uttar Pradesh's 166 million people were a solid vote bank.
Bukhari, who campaigned extensively against the Congress in the Assam assembly elections, made it clear that the proposed Muslim grouping would not be communal even though it advocated the community's interests.
Some of the participants wanted to make Bukhari, whose family has for centuries managed the historic Jama Masjid, the chairperson of the new forum but the Shahi Imam said he turned down the request.
"I told the delegates that I was ready to support them, to back them, as I did in Assam, but I would not hold any post. The important thing was to come together, which we did, and to set up a forum, which we have decided to.
"Most political parties calling themselves secular have only exploited Muslims for votes. We kept voting everyone else to power and never got anything in return, not even power sharing. The time has come to end this, to chart a new course.
"But I told the delegates, and there was agreement on this, that it will be a front that will take care of the interests of Muslims, Dalits and Brahmins too."
Asked why, he explained: "We cannot walk alone in this country. If we decide to fight injustice, then we should fight for everyone. If we talk about rights, we need to talk about everyone's rights. Our fight is against the government, not against Hindus."
The common thread binding the delegates was that the time had come to dump Mulayam Singh Yadav. Most delegates also sounded sympathetic to Mayawati, whose party, too, has significant following among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.
"We cannot trust Mulayam any more," said Bukhari, a long-standing critic of the chief minister. "Muslims had considered him their leader. But they now think that there is a big gulf between what he says and what he does.
"He talks about secularism but has secret contacts with BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). He just cannot be trusted."