LUCKNOW: Jailed SP leader Azam Khan's media incharge has accused party president Akhilesh Yadav of ignoring his colleague and the Muslim community, sparking speculation over another rift in the opposition party.
Fasahat Ali Khan, Azam Khan's spokesperson, said Yadav met the senior leader only once in the jail and the party made no attempt for his release in the past two and a half years.
He also alleged that despite Muslims overwhelmingly voting for Yadav, the former UP CM never uttered a word for the community. He said this was his "personal pain" but he will tell Azam Khan that it is high time to take a "decision".
The Azam Khan's spokesperson made the remarks at a party programme in Rampur on Sunday. A video of his making the comments has surfaced on social media.
The outburst by the Azam Khan's aide came days after hints from Yadav's uncle and ally Shivpal Singh Yadav, who heads the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party, that he might snap ties with the Samajwadi party (SP).
Fasahat Ali Khan said,"Azam Khan has been in jail for the last two and a half years but the Samajwadi Party has done nothing for his release didn't even protest in one district. What would be more absurd than this that Akhilesh Yadav met Azam Khan in jail only once."
"Can it be assumed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is right in saying that Akhilesh Yadav does not want that Azam Khan come out of jail," he asked.
He also accused Yadav of neglecting Azam Khan, saying the Samajwadi party president did not take his name when he spoke in the Assembly recently. "You spoke about the seniority of many people but you did not remember Azam Khan Sahab," he said.
"Who is a more senior MLA than Azam Sahab? But still, Akhilesh Yadavji you didn't take Azam Khan's name," he said.
"We made you and your father (Mulayam Singh Yadav) the chief minister. You could not have a big heart and make Azam Khan sahab the Leader of Opposition," he added.
Accusing the Samajwadi party chief of neglecting the Muslims, he said it was only because of them that the party got 111 seats in the just-concluded Assembly polls.
"It is a bitter truth that your own caste did not vote for you," he said targeting Yadav. The spokesman also accused Yadav of not having any sympathy for Muslims.
"For the national president, our clothes give off bad smell. He doesn't want to take our name from the stage. I want to ask you whether Abdul (Muslim community) has taken the entire responsibility," he asks.
"He will lay out the mat, vote for you and also go to jail. Abdul will be ruined in the CAA and the NRC. His house will be attached. Recovery will also be made from him but there would not be a word from your mouth," he said.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party's national spokesperson Ashutosh Verma junked the allegations, saying Azam Khan has a bigger place in the party than leaders like Janeshwar Mishra and Beni Prasad Verma.
BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla said the Samajwadi Party is paying the price of Akhilesh's arrogance.
"Azam Khan is a founding member of the SP and the allegations levelled by his media incharge are extremely serious," Shukla said, adding that people in Yadav's own party are questioning his leadership.
Azam Khan is languishing in the Sitapur jail and had won from Rampur Sadar seat for the 10th time in the recently concluded Assembly polls. He quit the Lok Sabha membership from Rampur to remain an MLA. Azam Khan is among a handful of legislators who have not taken oath in the new Assembly so far.