NEW DELHI: On the eve of Delhi polls, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari today appealed to Muslims to vote for AAP citing "grave threat" to the community from communal forces but the party promptly rejected the support saying it was against any type of caste and communal politics.
In his appeal, Bukhari urged the people to help AAP to form an "honest and secular" government in Delhi while accusing BJP of extending support to elements who are trying to divide the society.
"The country is facing the grave dangers of communalism and Muslims are the target of communal forces," Bukhari said in a statement while asking people to support AAP to protect the country from divisive forces.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the party does not require support of Bukhari as it was against any type of "caste and communal politics".
"AAP doesn't support the ideology of Imam Bukhari. We don't need his support," Singh said.
Bukhari said, "To oppose the communal forces and curb their further advance and to protect the sanctity and security of the Constitution of the country, we shall have to ponder over the measures required to ensure that the secular fabric of the nation remains intact."
He said survival of Muslims was dependent on the survival of secularism in India while urging the people to help AAP to form an honest and secular government in Delhi.
An aide of Bukhari, however, claimed the AAP had approached the Imam seeking support to the party.
AAP leader Ashutosh said the party does not have any connection with Bukhari.
"He (Bukhari) did not invite India's Prime Minister to his son's anointment ceremony but called the Pakistan Prime Minister. You might be upset with the PM, you might be having differences with him but you have to respect that position. AAP is against communal politics. We reject his support as well as his politics," Ashutosh said.
Bukhari had triggered a controversy in October last year by inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as political leaders in India but not Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the anointment ceremony of his son.
Without naming any party, the AAP leader alleged that certain forces have been trying to "polarise" people ahead of the elections.
"A man who represents regressive politics, communal side of politics comes out and offers support to a party which is fighting its elections for common man and is setting new benchmark in politics. This is a blatant attempt to polarise the polls," Ashish Khaitan said.
Ashutosh was also critical of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who had earlier asked the voters that the contest between BJP and the AAP was a "choice between governance and anarchy".
"I have been an admirer of Jaitley but in past 10 days I saw that he doesn't have time even for budget making which is so important for the country," he said.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain, commenting on Bukhari's support to AAP, said the party was trying to divide Delhi on communal lines.