trouble for Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), Syed Imam
Bukhari of Delhi's Jama Masjid Saturday said he would hold a rally
at party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's home turf Etawah April 21 to
"expose" its real attitude towards Muslims.
Bukhari, who supported the SP in the run-up to the 2012 assembly
polls in 2012, Friday announced he was severing ties with the
party. He asked his son-in-law Umar Ali, a nominated member of the
state's upper house, and relative Waseem Ahmad Khan, the chairman
of the Civil Defence Council, to quit their posts.
Accusing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of "abjectly failing to
protect the interests and lives of the minorities", Bukhari told
IANS that he will now be holding a massive rally in Etawah where
victims of the riots in various districts of the state would be
invited to spell out the "reality of the pro-minority SP".
Sources in the SP say the Imam, before taking the final plunge,
had called Mulayam Singh with his complaints but could not get any
positive and reassuring answer from him.
"The Imam wanted certain issues to be addressed, including cutting
down of Mohammad Azam Khan's size but this is not acceptable to
the party leadership," a senior party leader said.
Azam Khan, the
state's urban developmentand minority welfare minister is
considered very close to the party leadership but is daggers drawn
with the Shahi Imam.
The Imam's clout with the Muslims is said to be instrumental in
weaning back the minority vote in favour of the SP, which had
drifted away after Mulayam Singh had forged an alliance with
former chief minister and then Bharatiya Janata Party rebel Kalyan
Singh, who is seen by the community as the villain in the Babri
The loss of the Shahi Imam's support, many feel, would hurt the
party as he tries to retain his party's vote base in the run-up to
the Lok Sabha 2014 polls.