Lucknow:�Bahujan Samaj Party �chief Mayawati, on the occasion of Buddha Purnima on Saturday , asked the party's Muslim face Naseemuddin Siddiqui to accompany Dalits who've embraced Buddhism for prayers at Buddha Vihar in Lucknow.
Siddiqui, who was in Delhi on Friday along with BSP legislators and other key functionaries to meet Mayawati, flew down to Lucknow on Saturday morning and drove straight to Buddha Vihar.
He took part in the prayers, offered flowers to Lord Buddha and had kheer as `prasad'.
Siddiqui's presence at Buddha Vihar was confirmed by BSP's Lucknow district coordinator Hari Krishna Gautam. He, however, maintained it was not a party function.
�People who have embraced Buddhism have been offering prayers at Buddha Vihar for the past many years.
But now, BSP members want to be seen by their side at their functions,� said another par ty functionary .
BSP sources said Mayawati's move to depute a Muslim to repre sent the party at a Buddha Purnima function is aimed at sending across a message ahead of the UP assembly elections that Muslims and Dalits are consolidating behind her party .
Mayawati, who has yet to embrace Buddhism, said her government had constructed memorials for Lord Buddha, apart from naming a district and university in his name.
She said the faith was completely against division of society on the basis of caste. �Buddhism has become all the more relevant in the context of rising hatred and communalism,� Mayawati said.