Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav is accommodating detractors of Azam Khan by giving them tickets and according them importance in the party and government.
Azam, regarded as the Muslim face of SP, does not share good equation with as many as 10 Muslim candidates fielded by the SP in the state.
The latest being Mulayam refusing to Azam’s demand for replacing party candidate Javed Ali Khan from Sambhal and declare sitting BSP MP Shafeequr Rehman Barq as the candidate from there.
Javed Ali Khan is regarded as the choice of party national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who had reportedly confronted Azam’s claim and even suggested that Barq be fielded from Rampur. Barq has been denied ticket from BSP and SP is yet to announce its candidate from Rampur.
Several candidates like Shahid Manzoor, who had been elevated as a cabinet minister from Meerut, is not at ease with Azam. Shakeel Ahmed from Sultanpur too is not comfortable with him, as his Assembly ticket was cancelled in favour of Azam loyalist Abrar Ahmed from Isauli in Sultanpur in 2012.
SP candidate from Amroha, Humaira Akhtar — wife of Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Kamal Akhtar — Ayesha Islam, wife of Shahzil Islam MLA and candidate from Bareilly, Moradabad candidate S T Hasan and Zafar Alam, MLA and candidate from Aligarh — all are reported to be on other side of Azam. His detractor, Congress leader Rasheed Masood, too has been accommodated with his son Shadan Masood being fielded from Saharanpur.
Besides not giving him preference in fielding candidates, Mulayam has also not included Azam in the 18-member election coordination committee, which has Ahmed Hasan as the lone Muslim member. The panel is headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
In Akhilesh’s ministry, Azam reportedly also does not share good rapport with Muslim ministers. His known detractors — Shahid Manzoor, Nawab Iqbal Mehmood and Mehboob Ali — all have been elevated as cabinet ministers.