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Muslim clerics slam Samajwadi Party rebel

Source: PTI
March 25, 2009 22:16 IST
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Even as the Samajwadi Party failed to put down the dissidence of Mohammed Azam Khan, a group of Islamic clerics on Wednesday slammed the prominent Muslim face of the party for "harassing" them.

"Yes, I am referring to Azam Khan. He had once suggested bulldozing a dargah to make way for a club and a restaurant," Farhat Ahmed Khan Jamali, an ulema, told media persons while addressing a joint press conference with SP general secretary Amar Singh.

Jamali, who belongs to Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, said Azam Khan had made the reported suggestions in the late 1990s.

Azam Khan has expressed his displeasure over the bonhomie of the party's top brass with former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kalyan Singh. He is also unhappy with the decision of the party to re-nominate Jaya Prada from the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Azam Khan had met in Delhi last week to thrash out the differences. But apparently, no headway was achieved.

"No, we do not want his removal from the party, but have sought an assurance to rein in such leaders," Jamali said replying to a poser on whether the ulemas have demanded the removal of Khan from SP.

While Jamali spoke, other ulemas were also present during the press conference.

"Since he (Jamali) is an apolitical person, he can freely take names and slam people. But I am a disciplined worker of the party, therefore I cannot make a comment on a senior leader who had been the founder member of SP," Amar Singh said, adding that he can only forward their grievances to the party chief.

To a question on ulemas' reaction to Kalyan Singh's proximity with SP, Jamali said the former BJP leader has not joined the Mulayam Singh-led party. "We have confidence in Mulayam Singh that he will never ignore the interests of Muslims," Jamali said.

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