In a bid to retain his political legacy, Congress leader Rasheed Masood, who lost his Rajya Sabha membership after being convicted in a case by a Delhi court, met Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav for reconciliation.
Rasheed Masood’s son, Shazan Masood, confirmed his father’s meeting with Mulayam. He also did not rule out returning to SP.
“When my father was in jail none of the Congress leaders contacted us. Netaji (Mulayam) was the only person who stood with us even when we were not in the party. My father met Netaji to express his gratitude for supporting us. I do not deny that political talks were not held but we cannot say anything about the future,” Shazan said.
It is reported that SP MLC Umar Khan, who is also the son-in-law of Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, facilitated the meeting. Umar had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 Assembly election as SP candidate from Behat seat in Saharanpur.
During the meeting, Rasheed Masood reportedly discussed the possibility of changing SP candidate from Saharanpur Imran Masood, who also happens to be his nephew. Sources in the SP, however, said Mulayam appears in no mood to replace Imran, who has already started campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in the constituency. Imran had parted ways from Rasheed Masood after the latter had preferred Shazan over him as his political successor.
Two names — Sanjai Garg and Choudhary Irshad — as replacement to Imran Masood reportedly came up during the meeting. Sanjai Garg was earlier in SP and is a former minister while Choudhary Irshad is former chairman of district panchayat in Saharanpur. Both of them are said to be close to Rasheed Masood.
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The SP, however, cannot invite the ire of senior minister Azam Khan by changing the Saharanpur candidate. Rasheed Masood, a five term Lok Sabha member and two term Rajya Sabha member, has never been at good terms with Azam Khan.
Rasheed Masood is regarded as a senior leader in western region of the state and had served as Union minister during V P Singh government. Before parting ways from SP, both Rasheed Masood and Shazan had lost last Lok Sabha elections as SP candidate from Saharanpur and Kairana, respectively. Masood had joined Congress in 2011 by relinquishing Rajya Sabha membership from SP.