Apparently irked that Samajwadi Party leaders were going soft on Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari,party general secretary Azam Khan claimed on Monday that he was a party in himself and did not need anyones support.
He 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 live 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 claimed 13 SP MLAs had come to meet him in the morning.
Asked if he was losing the support of the leadership,Khan said: 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.
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 the Assembly elections.
Khan said the SP should have been tough with Bukhari when he rejected the LC seat offer. There should have been no blackmailing and no dealing… He took the Assembly ticket for his son-in-law and lost. Now he is again bargaining. Surprisingly,I was not consulted by party leaders in this 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. He added: One cannot survive in politics by giving in to blackmail. Too much interference of a religious leader in political system is dangerous.
Meanwhile,ministers Shahid Manzoor and Mehboob Ali denied the claims made by Bukharis press secretary Amanullah that they were among the 13 MLAs who met the Imam.