Azam Khan's revolt over riots adds to SP woes
By Subhash Mishra | Published: 13th September 2013 09:16 AM |
With senior minister Mohammad Azam Khan and other Muslim leaders revolting against the Samajwadi Party leadership and the Uttar Pradesh Government, the communal fire has started engulfing the beleaguered ruling party after having claimed nearly 40 lives and left scores displaced.
Azam, who has been sulking for over a month and refused to attend the SP’s national executive meet in Agra on Wednesday, has been tersely warned by the party leadership that if he will not mend his ways he is free to quit the party.
Azam, the most articulate Muslim leader of the party of which he was a founding member, hasn’t yet reacted to the party’s latest censure handed down by top leaders Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agarwal.
Till Wednesday night, the SP had been trying to play down Azam’s protests and absence at the two-day meeting, saying that 25 members, not just Azam, had skipped it. The growing protests by the Muslim leaders have added to the worries of the party that is already at the receiving end for failing to control the riots.
The party faced a revolt-like situation when its Maharashtra unit president Abu Azmi said what Muslims wanted the Akhilesh Yadav Government to do was to ensure their security, not to distribute free laptops.
Another Muslim leader, Tauqir Raza Khan, has quit the government in protest against its handling of the communal riots.
A number of Muslim outfits took to the streets demanding the dismissal of the government and some Muslim leaders even referred to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav as the “Narendra Modi of Uttar Pradesh”.
This is, however, not the first time Azam has raised the banner of revolt in the party. In 2009, he quit the party after Mulayam brought former BJP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh back into the party fold. But Azam was cajoled back to the SP ahead of the 2012 Assembly polls.
It appears Azam has never been comfortable with a young Chief Minister like Akhilesh and both haven’t developed a working relationship yet.