The Samajwadi Party’s Muslim politics has gone for a toss with two of its Muslim faces swearing at each other publicly. The unseemly war of words between the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Maulana Ahmed Bukhari and senior SP leader Azam Khan seems to be growing murkier with each passing day.
The Maulana has called Azam “dishonest” and “an enemy of Muslims”, while the latter asked the cleric not to dabble in politics. However, senior SP leader Shivpal Yadav has said it was a “family matter” which would be sorted out soon.
The Maulana is reportedly upset over the SP’s nominations to Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) seats announced recently. Mulayam had given Bukhari’s son-in-law Umar Ali a ticket for a Council seat, which the cleric has turned down.
On Friday, Bukhari sent a letter to Mulayam alleging that the SP was no different when it came to Muslim interests. However, senior SP leader and the party’s Muslim face Azam Khan criticized the Maulana’s stand. Party sources say Mulayam tried to contact Bukhari on phone but the incensed cleric refused to take his calls.
Party insiders say that deal had been made on the condition that the Imam’s son-in-law Umar Ali will be given an assembly ticket from Behat seat in Saharanpur. Mulayam obliged, though this led to the exit of senior leader Rasheed Masood who joined the Congress. Masood wanted the seat for his son. Umar lost the election, stood third and even lost his deposit.
Even after the humiliating defeat, the Imam wanted his son-in-law to be either given a Council seat and made a minister, or be nominated to the Rajya Sabha. However, this time, Mulayam only obliged to the extent of giving him a nomination to the Council.