LUCKNOW: When a ship sinks, passengers prefer to move to life rafts. This is what happening with Samajwadi Party MP Mohd Azam Khan, who is being deserted by his one-time friends, associates, confidantes.
With the Uttar Pradesh government tightening noose around Khan's neck over cases of alleged land grabbing, theft and encroachment, his associates and friends are steadily moving away from him.
Retired IAS officer S.P. Singh, known to be Khan's most trusted officer, has drifted away from him and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Singh -- dressed symbolically in a saffron kurta -- joined the BJP at a function held here on Monday, making it clear that he was no longer interested in being known as Khan's associate.
Singh had served in the Urban Development Department, when Khan was its minister in the Akhilesh government. He was also given extension on Khan's recommendation.
Khan's other old and trusted friend Mulayam Singh Yadav too has not uttered a word in favour of the beleaguered politician.
The two leaders have a three-decade-old relationship and one expected the SP veteran to, at least, issue a statement in Khan's support.
Not just Mulayam, other SP leaders like Bhagwati Singh and Ram Govind Chaudhary, have also maintained a studied silence on the allegations against Khan.
The Samajwadi Party did not go beyond a one-day demonstration in Khan's support and SP President Akhilesh Yadav was not a part of it.
According to sources, a number of Khan's supporters in Rampur too have done the vanishing act.
A local Samajwadi Party leader disclosed that most of Khan's supporters have gone underground fearing action.
"Azam Khan has been away for quite some time and we have not seen his supporters either. Apparently no one wants to get caught in this crossfire between Azam Khan and the state government," said the SP leader.