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Azam Khan leads opposition in UP

Samajwadi Party supremo, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav in a clever move appointed his staunch loyalist and disciple Azam Khan as the leader of opposition in UP assembly. It is for the first time in the history of UP assembly that a Muslim has been given this coveted post . Not only this since Mr. Ahmad Hasan of the same party was already holding this post in the upper house i.e. Legislative council now both houses are having a Muslim as leader of opposition.

Azam Khan, a product of Aligarh Muslim University who started his political career as a student leader of AMU, represents Rampur in UP assembly .Earlier he was the member of Rajya Sabha. Known as the staunch supporter and loyalist of Mulayam Singh Yadav Mr. Azam khan came into limelight with the Babri Masjid movement when he along with late Maulana Muzaffar Husain Kichauchvi, Mr. Zafaryab Jilani, Mr. Shafiqqur Rahman Barq and others spearheaded the Babri Masjid movement when the locks of the Masjid were opened under a court's order in 1986. Since then he has been an eyesore to Sangh Parivar and Hindi press has left no stone unturned to paint him as anti-national. He was accused of calling India a "monster" (‘Bharat maan ko daain kaha’ shouted Hindi press from the roof top ignoring his clarifications). His clarifications were not taken seriously and a hue and cry was made to defranchise him. It was actually in accordance with the true character of Sangh Parivar and its rumour mill was in full swing to defame him. However saner elements of Muslim society too often disapprove his style of politics, particularly his firebrand approach to certain sensitive issues related with the community. 

Mr. Azam Khan was minister of wakf twice and during his tenure was made hell for the employees of Sunni/Shia boards of wakfs in the name of checking corruption. His infamous decision of asking Mutawallis not to pay their six percent share to the Board dried its coffer resulting in non payment of employees salaries for more than a year. He also obstructed the board’s grant pushing the employees at the verge of starvation. His main strength is his unshakable loyalty to Mulayam Singh Yadav and introducing him as the savior of Muslims, so much so that he went to the extent of saying that one who does not support Mulayam Singh Yadav his Iman (faith) is doubtful. He is the founder President of Minority Forum of India which immediately after its creation awarded the " Rafiqul Mulk " title to Mulayam Singh Yadav. It was under his stewardship that the Babri Masjid Action Committee was split in 1990 with Janata Dal and the group headed by him and Zafaryab Jilani went with Mulayam group and Syed Shahabuddin group joined hands with VP Singh..

Mr. Azam Khan’s elevation to this post is considered as a clever move of Mulayam Singh Yadav to assuage the hurt feelings of Muslims who have been ditched by Mayawati who joined hands with BJP the culprit of Gujarat massacre. With Mr. Azam Khan as the leader of opposition and Mr. Pramod Tewari as leader of Congress legislature party Mayawati is bound to face tough time in assembly as no one in her flock could match the oratory skill of both these leaders.

If Mr. Azam Khan succeeded in developing floor coordination with Congress the discussions in the house will be worth listening and any thing could happen. This is not an impossible task as Pramod Tewari is also known for having soft corner for Mulayam Singh Yadav.

This is now sure that issues haunting Muslims will be raised in the house more vociferously as Mr. Azam Khan, a young and dynamic Muslim leader, will definitely have some personal and party interest in mind. In the previous 13th assembly the main opposition (Samajwadi Party) and its leader Dhani Ram Verma passed their entire period napping so much so that they could not even realise the dangers of religious places bill which was passed by voice vote when the opposition staged a walk out . Only Congress and its leader Pramod Tewari realised its gravity and raised the issue but was shot down by the saffron brigade. This is sure that Azam Khan will not give saffron/blue combination any chance to commit such mischief against minorities.

It however, remains to be seen that if out of any eventuality Governor invites the leader of opposition to form the next government will Azam Khan be the next Chief Minister. This is a million dollars question and will be a litmus test for Mulayam Singh Yadav's secular credentials.

Related Article: Muslim day in UP assembly Read

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