"I will not speak for all Muslims, but I am ready to ignore his past if Modi changes himself," the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) vice-president said in a statement in Lucknow. "I will personally back Modi if he is willing to change himself," the Shia cleric said, adding, "there are differences in words and deeds of Modi and people have lost faith in him after the Gujarat riots."

Asked if the Gujarat Chief Minister needs to 'apologize' for the riots, Sadiq said rather than tendering an apology he should prove a change through his actions. Sadiq's conditional support, however, did not go down well another Muslim religious leader Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, the Naib Imam of Lucknow's Aishbagh Eidgah.

"Many Muslims lost their lives under the leadership of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi," Mahali said, in an apparent reference to the post-Godhra 2002 riots in Gujarat. Mahali also said that Sadiq's statement could be his personal opinion and that his community does not have the "same thinking."

"We are not thinking about getting on the side of Narendra Modi. I do not think Muslims are under any confusion regarding Modi. Muslims do not get involved in any kind of politics," he added.

(Agencies)

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