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Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari supports Congress, says communalism bigger threat

New Delhi: Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari today declared his support to Congress saying it will "strengthen" secularism and termed communalism as "bigger threat" to the country than corruption.

Considered an influential religious leader, Bukhari appealed to Muslims to support Congress and ensure that secular votes are not divided, days after his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi sparked a row.

He also announced supporting Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Congress ally RJD in Bihar.

"For the coming Lok Sabha elections, I announce support for the Congress. We have to fight unitedly against communal forces," he said at a press conference here.

Bukhari said though the Muslim community has grievances against Congress, still a decision to support the party was taken as the "country cannot be allowed to go to the communal forces".

"The nation faces danger from communal forces. We should ensure secular votes are not divided," the Imam said.

He said the country was facing a bigger problem of communalism and "communal forces are working day in and day out to break the country."

The announcement by Bukhari came three days after his meeting with Gandhi that raised hackles of BJP, which accused her of communalising politics and said it was case of violation of the model code of conduct.

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