Apparently,irked that Samajwadi Party leaders were going soft on Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari,party general secretary Azam Khan today claimed that he was a party in himself and did not need anyones support.
Khan also challenged Bukhari to run for Moradabad mayor to prove his support. Moradabad is not alien to him as his first wife and a son lives there. If he is able to save his deposit,I will resign from politics, he said.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has held several rounds of talks with Bukhari to placate him after he rejected the partys offer of a Legislative Council seat to his son-in-law. If this and the fact the leadership had not sided with him in his showdown with Bukhari barely a month after the party returned to power was not enough to rankle Khan,the Imams Delhi office today claimed 13 SP MLAs had come to meet him in the morning.
It is true that 13 SP MLAs had arrived in the morning to meet Imam Saheb. We are not aware what was discussed during the meeting, said Amanullah,the press secretary of Bukhari. He also revealed the names of two state ministers Shahid Manzoor and Mehboob Ali who were part of the delegation. However,Manzoor and Ali denied the claims that they were among the 13 MLAs who met the Imam.
Meanwhile,asked if he was losing the support of the leadership,Khan said that was none of his worries. I am a party in myself. I am not so weak that I require clutches. I am strong enough to defend and my party leaders understand this, he said. Mistakes have been made by the party from the start. You cannot construct a straight wall on a crooked foundation, Khan said,referring to the bonhomie between Mulayam and Bukhari during Assembly elections.
Khan said the SP should have been tough with Bukhari when he rejected the Legislative Council seat offer. There should have been no blackmailing and no dealing in the whole affair. He took the Assembly ticket for his son-in-law and lost. Now he is again bargaining. Surprisingly,I was not consulted by the party leaders in this whole episode, he said.
When reminded that Mulayam was still in touch with Bukhari,he said: I am not aware about any deal in this whole affair. And added: One cannot survive in politics by giving in to blackmail. Too much interference of a religious leader in political system is dangerous.
Azam also took strong exception to the remarks of Bukhari where the latter had used derogatory language against his protege Choudhary Munawwar Saleem who is now Rajya Sabha MP. It is bad if anyone ridicules anyone on his appearance. The Imam is now a culprit before Allah and he should seek forgiveness. Till then Muslims like me will not offer namaz behind him, he said.