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Mulayam slams rebel Azam Khan; backs Jayaprada and Amar Singh

Mulayam slams rebel Azam Khan; backs Jayaprada and Amar Singh

Author: Atiq Khan
Publication: The Hindu
Date: May 10, 2009
URL: http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/10/stories/2009051057030100.htm

"Mohammad Azam Khan is working against the party"

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh on Saturday accused his estranged party colleague, Mohammad Azam Khan, of indulging in anti-party activity aimed at harming its prospects in the crucial Lok Sabha election from Rampur.

Mr. Mulayam Singh made it clear that the party stood solidly behind its candidate Jayaprada and general secretary Amar Singh.

This was the first time the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister went public on his senior colleague's acts of defiance. He did this in Rampur, Mr. Khan's pocket borough, addressing an election rally in support of Ms. Jayaprada.

Mr. Khan has been opposing Ms. Jayaprada's candidature from Rampur. Polling here is to take place in the last phase of the elections on May 13.

The Samajwadi chief said that in 2004 it was Mr. Khan who prevailed upon him to field Jayaprada from Rampur, "though I was reluctant". After Mr. Khan assured him that the Congress candidate would lose, he had finalised Ms. Jayaprada's candidature from Rampur.

Wanting to know why Mr. Khan was opposing her now, Mr. Mulayam Singh said that if there were any differences he should have met Ms. Jayaprada to sort them out. "Women are very soft-hearted," the SP chief remarked.

He slammed Mr. Khan for opposing a candidate approved by the party. "Mr. Khan has said he is a founder-member of the party but has anyone heard of someone cutting the tree grown by the gardener himself?" Mr. Mulayam Singh asked.

The Rampur rally was attended by Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan and the party's Maharashtra unit chief Abu Aasim Azmi. Mr. Khan stayed away. Mr. Amar Singh was away campaigning in the Kheri parliamentary constituency.

Mr. Mulayam Singh indicated that his colleague's days in the party were numbered.

Khan's reaction

The estranged leader, who remained incommunicado for most of the day, broke his silence in the evening. He told journalists that he was dismayed by Mr. Mulayam Singh's statement.

Mr. Khan said his association with Mr. Mulayam Singh spanned 25 years, and he was a founder-member of the party.

"It seems he has sacrificed an old friendship for the sake of new friends."

Describing the SP president as a nice person, Mr. Khan said Jayaprada was not the issue. His opposition was to the alliance with Kalyan Singh. Mr. Khan said there was no place for the former BJP leader in the SP; Muslims would never forget the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Sorry, says Amar Singh

PTI adds: Seeking to bury the hatchet a day after firing salvos against Azam Khan, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on Saturday expressed regret for his action saying he had been overpowered by emotions.

"I feel sorry for what I uttered publicly in Rampur, ignoring the instructions of the party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had advised me to maintain silence over the issue," said Mr. Amar Singh.

"Emotions overpowered me when I watched a woman being humiliated, my party leaders being insulted and myself facing threats in Rampur," he said in an obvious reference to Mr. Khan's criticism of Ms. Jayaprada.

Mr. Amar Singh said he was disturbed and could not control his emotions at that point of time. "All this disturbed me emotionally to such an extent that I could not control myself and spoke out my agony in public. I am sorry to the party president Mulayam Singh particularly when the Lok Sabha polls are in the final phase," he said.


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