AAP rejects Bukhari’s pro-AAP appeal

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Friday rejected the appeal of Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, to Muslims to vote for the AAP in Saturday’s assembly polls in Delhi.

“The AAP seems to be in a position to form the government, and we must give them strength,” Bukhari of the 17th century Jama Masjid in Old Delhi said earlier in the day.

The AAP quickly rejected his unsolicited support, accusing the Imam of practicing communal politics.

“Today, on the eve of Delhi polls, a man who represents regressive and the worst side of politics came out and gave support to the AAP,” party leader Ashish Khetan told the media.

“We not only reject the offer made by Ahmed Bukhari but we also want to make it clear that the AAP is here to fight communal politics that Bukhari represents,” he added.

Khetan said Bukhari’s past utterances symbolized communalism. He added that when Bukhari annointed his son as the Jama Masjid’s Naib Imam, he had invited the Pakistani prime minister but not the Indian prime minister.

Khetan also targeted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who earlier criticised the AAP.

“The finance minister is practicing negative and regressive politics. They had no manifesto and no leadership in Delhi. They just attack the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal

“It is unfortunate that the finance minister does not lay out a coherent vision for Delhi,” Khetan said, adding that over 70 percent of the budget allotted for Delhi by Jaitley in the central budget was still unused.

“The budget was to be used to build hospitals, lay pipelines, new colleges but 70 percent of it is still lying unused and will lapse because the financial year will end soon,” he said.

Muslims account for over 11 percent of Delhi’s nearly 17 million population. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, Bukhari called upon Muslims to vote for the Congress.