Curtains were drawn on the weeklong controversy,with Imam of Delhis Jama Masjid,Syed Ahmed Bukhari,agreeing that his son-in-law Umar Ali Khan will file his nomination for the Legislative Council elections slated for April 26.
The cleric,who had said Umar would not file nomination unless the SP named at least two Muslims among its eight MLC candidates,took the decision after his meeting with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav at the latters residence on Thursday.
The party refused to change any candidate it had already announced Umars candidature but said it would nominate a Muslim for the council seat falling vacant due to the resignation of former CM Mayawati,who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha. The CM also assured Bukhari of increasing Muslim representation in the Cabinet to five from three at present and appointment of Muslim officials to key administrative posts.
The controversy broke out last Friday,soon after the SP had announced Umars candidature. SP general secretary and senior minister Azam Khan objected to this,saying Umar had already lost the Assembly election,and a war of words ensued between him and Bukhari. The cleric then rejected the offer to his son-in-law and accused the SP of denying Muslims their due share in the Rajya Sabha and council nominations.
Azam Khan hit back,saying Bukhari only wanted Rajya Sabha nomination for his brother and inclusion of his son-in-law in the Cabinet. After initially appearing soft,and willing to accommodate Bukhari to some extent,the SP finally decided not to budge.
Bukhari arrived from Delhi at 3 pm. When asked about his agenda,he said: Muslims had crowned SP in the Assembly elections,but they have been given a raw deal. I will discuss these things with Mulayam Singh. Referring to Azam Khan,Bukhari said: One SP leader tried to create misunderstanding. But it is the concern of Mulayam Singh.
At 4 pm,Bukhari left for Mulayam Singhs residence. After 45 minutes,Bukhari and Akhilesh emerged from the meeting and issued a statement that Umar would file his nomination on Friday.
We discussed the poor representation of Muslims and the SP leadership accepted my claim. They agreed that two Muslims should have been sent to the Rajya Sabha last month. Now they have assured that two MLC seats will be given to Muslims, said Bukhari,with Akhilesh nodding in confirmation.
As Bukhari left contended,Azam Khan remarked,ridiculing him: He had applied for the license of a canon,but settled for a small knife.