Nagpur: Clerics and other religious leaders of the Barelvi sect of Muslims met in Nagpur, to launch a drive asking community members to abstain from voting for parties like Assadudin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Itehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), United Democratic Front (UDF) of Kerala, apart from candidates of the Deobandi sect, if they are fielded by any other party. This could indirectly impact the Congress, among major political parties, which the clerics present in the meet said has been only favouring the Deobandis so far.
The meeting was held under the aegis of Indian Muslim Association-Noori (IMAN), a city-based organization, and was attended by clerics and Sajjada Nashins (hereditary caretakers) of around 12 dargahs from across the country. After the daylong national convention, a resolution was passed to discourage voting for parties like AMIM, UDF, Socialist Democratic Front of India (SDPI), Popular Front of India (PFI), and Peace Party. The meet also singled out some sects, candidates from which should not be voted for. These include — Deobandi, Salafi, Maudidi, Kadiyani, Kharzi, and Rafiz, collectively addressed as Wahhabis.
The meet also had a subtle anti-Congress fervour, apart form the stance against Deobandis, which the Barelvis brand as fundamentalists. “Congress has been patronizing these sects and their representatives have secured important positions. They are also controlling shrines and mosques. Not only this, even posts in the Wakf Board have been hijacked by the sect. Our strategy is to vote them out,” said Saiyed Sultanul Chisti, Sajjada Nashin of Ajmer Sharif Dargah.
Mohammed Hamid, general secretary of IMAN, said that apart from other parties, at present the majority of candidates from the Wahhabi sect would be from Congress and Samajwadi Party. However, BJP would be affected too, as it mainly fields Shia candidates. The Rafzis mentioned in the do-not-vote list are Shias, he said.
Other Muslim community leaders, however, said IMAN and other related leaders are known to be close to the BJP. “Such calls have been made earlier also, and it is taken as an attempt to divide the Muslim votes by other parties,” said a source in political circles.
Meanwhile, Hamid, who denied any political affiliation, said the messages given through clerics and Sajjada Nashins is expected to be received well by the masses.
Source: Times of India