Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the chief cleric of Barelvi Sunni sect, announced on Saturday his decision to "support " Bahujan Samaj Party in coming parliamentary elections and attacked Samajwadi Party's "callous" attitude towards Muzafffarnagar riot victims.
The Maulana also made it clear that if a Third Front comes to power, then he would support Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to be the country's Prime Minister "since she has the ability to garner support from all sections of the people".
The Maulana, who enjoys considerable following, made it clear there are " no strings attached " to this decision and said he had taken the decision to "preserve the secular ethos of the country".
Addressing mediapersons here, the cleric, who was considered very close to Samajwadi Supermo Mulayam Singh Yadav till recently, said "I was deeply affected by Samajwadi Party's callous attitude towards the victims of Muzaffarnagar riot victims".
The Maulana said "it is one thing to fail to control riots but it is worse to be indifferent to human suffering".
He said he had made up his mind "after watching the celebrations in Saifai even while the riot victims were suffering in relief camps. How is this different from Modi's indifference to human suffering?" the Maulana said.
In reply to a question whether his support was "unconditional" and "whether he has got any assurance from the BSP supermo that she would not join hands with BJP after the polls, the Maulana said "my desision is unconditional but if Mayawati makes the mistake of supporting Narendra Modi then she will have to bear the consequences in the assembly polls."
In reply to a question regarding Delhi Jama Masjid's shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhri's appeal to support Congress, Maulana Tauqeer said "till the last minute we were under the impression the Maulana would issue an appeal in favour of Bahujan Samaj Party but apparently some thing happened at the last hour which made him change his mind".
Maulana Tauqeer had a dig at Maulana Bukhari saying "our decision to extend support to BSP is based entirely on our wish to prevent the fragmentation of secular votes. Today, Congress party is on the decline and we don't want to waste our vote " he added.