LUCKNOW: At a time when Azam Khan has been proclaimed as a land mafia by state government authorities and he faces cases ranging from buffalo theft, dacoity, land grabbing, causing unintentional death, criminal conspiracy and other offences, totalling 78 in the last 17 months, it is only SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav who took a stand and came forward openly in support of the beleaguered SP leader.
Ironically, Mulayam, known for his fighting spirit, picked up the gauntlet while his son and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been maintaining a guarded silence and a safe distance from the Rampur MP.
It is not only Akhilesh, but all the other senior SP leaders are making a conspicuous effort not to be seen with Azam Khan.
Even the party insiders also acknowledge the fact.
It became evident when the party patriarch was seen sitting all alone to address the media person over Azam Khan issue on Tuesday. Not only Akhilesh, but state unit chief Naresh Uttam, leader of the party in Assembly Ram Govind Chaudhury, and party leader in UP Council Ahmad Hassan, also refrained from being identified with Azam Khan.
None was accompanying Mulayam to the Tuesday press conference. Even senior SP leaders avoided commenting over the issue.
“The fact that the party leaders are not on the same page over Azam Khan issue has been doing rounds in party circles,” said a senior SP leader.
As per party insiders, Mulayam came to support Azam only after his wife Tazeen Fatima who is also the party member in Rajya Sabha, met the former SP chief and UP CM, at his residence seeking his assistance in coming out of this crisis. “Azam Khan’s family doesn’t expect any help from the party on this issue anymore,” said a senior leader.
Azam had been with Mulayam right from the inception of Samajwadi Party. In 1989, when Mulayam first became the UP CM, he was joined by Azam Khan as a cabinet minister.
Similarly, on October 4, 1992, when the Samajwadi Party took formal shape under Mulayam’s leadership, Azam was much in tow with MSY as the founder member of the party. He had even played a crucial role in drafting the constitution of the Samajwadi Party.
It was in 2009, that Azam Khan parted ways with Mulayam over the issue of induction of the then BJP rebel Kalyan Singh into the party fold by MSY on the advice of Amar Singh.
Then Azam Khan had reservation over the candidature of cine star Jaya Prada as party candidate from Rampur in 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Despite Azam‘s opposition, Jaya Prada was retained candidate and she won the seat.
Miffed Azam with a considerable grip on Muslim vote bank quit the SP.
Now with over six dozen cases slapped on him, highly placed police sources claimed that authorities may declare him history-sheeter in police files soon.
The Rampur police chief claimed that all the FIRs were lodged only after the preliminary investigation to check the veracity of charges.