Shivpal Singh Yadav meets Azam Khan in jail, says nephew's SP ignored party veteran
Shivpal Yadav won the recent assembly polls on an SP ticket but has signalled his growing closeness to the BJP after the results.
SITAPUR: Shivpal Singh Yadav on Friday accused his nephew Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party of not taking up the jailed SP leader Azam Khan's cause and said he would soon put the matter before Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president targeted the Samajwadi Party soon after meeting Khan at the district jail here, a day after he dared Akhilesh Yadav to throw him out of the SP legislature party if he thought he was with the ruling BJP.
When reporters waiting for the PSPL leader outside the jail asked him if he was with Khan or Akhilesh Yadav, he said, "I am with Azam and Azam is with me."
Shivpal Yadav won the recent assembly polls on an SP ticket but has signalled his growing closeness to the BJP after the results, even meeting Adityanath once.
The senior Yadav said it was unfortunate that the SP is not helping a founder of the party.
The Azam Khan camp has expressed unhappiness with Akhilesh Yadav, claiming that he has been ignoring the jailed leader and the Muslim community though it voted for the SP.
"He is the senior-most leader in the UP Assembly, 10-time MLA and has served as a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
A man of such stature has not been helped by his own party," Yadav said after the prison visit that lasted over an hour.
He said the Azam Khan issue should have been raised in the Lok Sabha in the past under the leadership of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, who he claimed has a good rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said it was unfortunate that the SP has not agitated for Khan.
Yadav said he will seek time with Adityanath to place the Azam Khan issue before him.
"If he is saint-hearted he will surely understand his situation," said the PSPL leader, whose last meeting with Adityanath had triggered speculation that he might cross over to the BJP.
He did not elaborate on what he sought for Khan, who is in jail for over two years in connection with cases that include criminal intimidation and illegal encroachment.
Yadav's jail visit follows a recent meeting of Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Chaudhary, an SP ally, with Khan's family in Rampur.
Khan's spokesman Fasahat Ali Khan had gone public earlier, accusing Akhilesh Yadav of ignoring the leader.
He said the SP president had visited the party veteran in prison only once in the last two years.
Following the spokesperson's outburst, the AIMIM had invited the jailed leader to ditch the SP and join Asaduddin Owaisi's party.
On Thursday, Shivpal Yadav spoke in favour of Khan and said he will meet him soon.
He had then also taken on Akhilesh Yadav over a comment alluding to his closeness with the saffron party.
He challenged the nephew to expel him from the SP legislature party.
The senior Yadav had formed his own party after falling out with Akhilesh Yadav in the past but appeared to have patched up just ahead of the last election.
However, the rift resurfaced after he was not called to a meeting of the newly elected SP MLAs last month.
After his meeting with Adityanath, Shivpal Yadav started following him along with PM Modi and former deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma on Twitter.
Yadav also skipped a meeting of the SP-led opposition alliance.