UP Minister Azam Khan on Friday ruled out an apology for an alleged hate speech and questioned why the Election Commission had not lifted the ban on his campaigning like it did for BJP leader Amit Shah. Hitting out at EC for lifting the ban on Shah yesterday but not granting him similar relief, Khan said he will move the Supreme Court against its order barring him from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.
The Samajwadi Party termed the EC decision on Shah as "unfortunate" and alleged it was doing "injustice" to Khan. Alleging that the EC action against him smacked of "undeclared Emergency", Khan, who is a prominent Muslim face of SP, said he had not done anything wrong that warranted an apology.
"I have not committed a crime," he told a press conference in Rampur. "Can any commission be above the Supreme Court. The Election Commission has a misunderstanding that its arbitrary powers can't be challenged in any court," said Khan, who was banned along with Shah on April 11 from campaigning in the state for allegedly making provocative speeches.
The EC, however, allowed Shah to campaign in UP after he assured the poll body that he would not disturb the public tranquillity and law and order. Asking why he was not given similar relief, Azam said, "A criminal, an assailant and a murderer of humanity, whose entry into Gujarat has been banned by Supreme Court, availed freedom to campaign whereas the voice of a person whose entire community is a victim and who has a spotless character has been crushed".
Accusing the EC of acting at the behest of Congress and "ignoring the high ideals and impartial practices as provided in the Constitution", he said, "I shall approach the apex court and believe I will get justice".
"The action of the Commission smacked of undeclared Emergency.... I don't know what the EC wants from me. It punished me without considering my reply. They have committed a huge legal blunder in my matter," he said and called himself a "victim".
Meanwhile, supporters of Azam, wearing black badges, staged a march in front of Jama Masjid in Rampur raising slogans against the Commission. "The decision of EC to lift ban on Amit Shah's campaigning is unfortunate..It's injustice to our senior leader Mohd Azam Khan..We respect EC..It should reconsider its decision and also lift the ban of Azam", Party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury told PTI in Lucknow.