With Umar Ali Khan filing his nomination as Samajwadi Party candidate for the Legislative Council election on Friday,the verbal spat between his father-in-law Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari of Delhi Jama Masjid and senior party leader Azam Khan appears to be over. In the fight between them,SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav had the last laugh.
He went ahead with Umars nomination,which Azam never liked. On the other hand,he did not yield to Bukharis demands for immediate nomination of a second Muslim candidate for the council,and one Muslim for the Rajya Sabha. But Bukhari may still pat his back that he has managed to get assurances of another council seat for Muslims in future,and also greater representation and administrative postings,while Azam Khan can take credit that there has been no change in the original list of candidates.
In effect,Mulayam Singh has shown that he is the boss and cannot be pushed around. The message was necessary as Azam Khah had acquired a larger than life image in the party. Imam Bukhari,who has in the past supported other political parties,this time threw his weight behind the SP in the elections,much to the amusement of party leaders who knew that he had hardly had any clout among the Muslims. But who turns away somebody offering his support in the elections? Later,however,SP leadership realised that Bukhari could be useful to counter Azam Khan who was getting increasingly assertive.
He could match Azam word for word. Being the Imam of Delhis Jama Masjid,he got publicity. And since he was only a well-wisher of the party,not a member of the party,so no disciplinary action could be taken against him. Unlike Azam,he wasnt too demanding. All that was required to keep him in good humour was to accommodate some of his requests for favours for his clan.
That was the reason Bukharis son-in-law Umar was given the SP ticket to contest the Assembly poll from Behat despite Azam Khans strong reservation. After Umar lost the election,Mulayam assured Bukhari that he will be rehabilitated somehow. Bukhari was given adequate importance at the swearing-in ceremony.
But Bukhari was now getting more ambitious. At the time of Rajya Sabha elections last month,Bukhari reportedly asked for SP nomination for his brother Yahya. This time,Mulayam used Azam Khan to counter Bukhari and also gave the ticket to Khans nominee Munawwar Saleem. In the list of candidates for the council,Umar was included as the lone Muslim face. But Azam Khan objected,and lashed out at Bukhari for promoting his family interests. Bukhari promptly retaliated.
Both the leaders now engaged themselves in a bitter spat. For a week,Azam-Bukhari face-off continued,but no senior party leader came out in support of Azam Khan. On the other had,despite Azam Khans opposition to Bukhari,ten-odd MLAs,including some ministers,met Bukhari in Delhi and a minister Kamal Akhter even went to meet Bukhari when he arrived in Lucknow on Thursday. The message was clear: Mulayam wanted Azam Khans isolation to be obvious.
Senior SP leaders confided that everything went as per Mulayams script. Azam Khan,who is regarded as the Muslim face of the party,had emerged stronger after his re-entry in the party. SP leadership even changed several candidates to accommodate Azam Khans men. Amidst this,senior leader Rasheed Masood of Sahranpur was ignored to the extent that he joined Congress. Therefore,there was a need to cut him to size.
Pasamanda Muslims meet Mulayam
Lucknow: A delegation of Pasamanda Muslims on Friday met SP president Mulyam Singh Yadav and demanded that the community should be given proper representation in the state government. We have met Mulayamji and drew his attention towards the fact that no Pasmanda muslim,comprising 85 per cent of the Muslim population,has been given place in either Rajya Sabha or Vidhan Parishad… There are also no ministers in Samajwadi government from the community, said Anis Mansoori,president of Pasmanda Muslim Samaj.