Lucknow, (Aryavarth) Zufar Farooqui has been re-elected as the chairman of UP Sunni Waqf Board for the third consecutive term.
He won by a margin of one vote over his rival candidate Imran Mabood.
The Sunni Waqf Board controls 1.3 lakh mosques and mausoleums across UP.
Barely 24 hours before the keenly contested poll, most Board members had veered around to Farooqui as an unanimous choice, but the pitch was queered at the last minute when Imran Mabood from the Bar Council quota, jumped into the fray.
The election drove a vertical split in the Board with most SP members from MP/MLA quota – Moradabad MP S.T. Hasan and Azamgarh MLA Nafees Ahmad – voting against Farooqui.
SP’s Sultanpur MLA, Abrar Ahmad, broke ranks to back the incumbent.
BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali, who was earlier projected as a chairman’s candidate, also voted against Farooqui.
Mabood’s colleague in the Bar Council, Abdul Razzaq Khan, also voted against him.
The support of three members nominated by the UP government – Maulana Naeem-Ur-Rahman Siddiqui (Firangi Mahal cleric), social worker Sabiha Ahmad and Tabassum Khan- helped Farooqui win the post.
Talking to reporters late on Tuesday night, Zufar Farooqui said, “I won this crucial election and will work for the uplift of community.”
All-India Muslim Law Board President Rabe Hasani Nadwi congratulated Farooqui, in what is being seen as stamp of approval to the Board’s decision to construct the mosque complex in Ayodhya – an issue that had drawn flak from Muslim hardliners.
Meanwhile, sources in Samajwadi Party confirmed that a show-cause notice had been issued to Abrar Ahmed who has been asked to reply within the next five days.
Asked why he defied party diktat, Abrar Ahmad said, “Initially, Zufar Farooqui was the unanimous choice, but at the eleventh hour, ST Hasan and Nafees Ahmad changed their mind and asked me to vote for Mabood. I told them I will not change my stand.”
Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) secretary, Athar Hussain, said, “Self-proclaimed Muslim leaders make a fundamental mistake by believing their views are sacrosanct and should be imposed on the community. They function on flawed assumptions, which has proved to be regressive and prevented the community’s rise on the socio-economic ladder.”