An influential Muslim organisation, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, has endorsed the candidature of Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal for the Varanasi seat where he is contesting against BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, national president of the organisation, said, "We have taken this decision after due deliberation. We consider it imperative that for thwarting the designs of divisive forces, all secular forces should rally around Kejriwal in Varanasi."
The 90-year-old Maulana, an internationally renowned Islamic scholar hailing from Aligarh, normally refrains from issuing statements of support during elections, but seems to have made an exception this time.
The endorsement by Jamaat-e-Islami can provide electoral advantage to Kejriwal in a city that has significant Muslim population.
Congress's Ajay Rai is also actively wooing the Muslim community and has already garnered the support of Mukhtar Ansari's Qaumi Ekta Dal.
The polling here is scheduled for May 12.