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Published in the 1-15 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

SPECIAL REPORTS

UP Muslim ministers quarelling

By Masood Hasan

The Milli Gazette Online

Lucknow: Two Muslim ministers in Uttar Pradesh are on the warpath over the leadership issue of the Muslim community. Minister of State for Minority Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi has launched a tirade against Azam Khan, Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, on various Muslim issues. He said that Azam Khan was working against the interests of Samajwadi Party and Muslims and was unnecessarily interfering in Qureshi’s department. He went to the extent of blaming Azam Khan for the delay in the sanction of grants for 67 madarsas. 

Haji Yaqoob Qureshi says that Muslims have reposed full faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh but they do not accept Azam Khan as their leader. Muslims are solidly behind Mulayam Singh who has launched several measures for their welfare but these measures could not benefit them because Azam Khan has created hurdles, he lamented.

Upset and sore over the arrogant attitude of Azam Khan, the simmering discontent surfaced with the opening of a front by Yaqoob Qureshi. While he issued a warning to Azam Khan to behave properly, Qureshi went to the extent of saying that Azam Khan is the main hurdle in the establishment of the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Urdu University proposed to be set up in Rampur.

Qureshi told this correspondent that he called on the Chief Minister and briefed him in detail about the unwarranted and humiliating remarks made by Azam Khan against him. Qureshi felt hurt over the remarks and asked Azam Khan to explain as to why he returned the crown and the gold ring given by him for the establishment of the Urdu University. This has clearly proved that Azam Khan does not want to establish the Urdu University, that he was only playing with the sentiments of innocent Muslims for cheap popularity.

Qureshi spoke to this correspondent at his residence in detail and said that Azam Khan has no right to attack him personally. "I am an honest Muslim and I have a beard,” he said, adding that a true Muslim cannot criticize any Muslim who has a beard". Azam Khan has shown disrespect to Islam by criticizing his beard, he pointed out. The minister bitterly assailed Azam Khan and blamed him for hampering the welfare schemes launched by the Mulayam Singh Government for the betterment of the Muslims in the state. The minister said that he is ready to go to any extent for the welfare of the Muslims. He warned Azam Khan that his interference would not be tolerated any more. 

In a surprising development, Azam Khan has announced the withdrawal of his name from the post of the pro-chancellor of the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Urdu Bill. The Urdu University Bill passed by the state legislature with a voice vote and sent to the Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeswar for his assent. A disappointed Azam Khan has shot off a letter to the Chief Minister requesting him to drop his name from the post of pro-chancellor from the proposed Bill. He did not attribute any reason for the withdrawal of his name from the post of pro-chancellor. 

Addressing a hurriedly convened press conference here on 15 May, the minister said that he had written a letter to the Chief Minister requesting him to drop his name from the post of the pro-chancellor as he did not want to become the pro-chancellor of the proposed university for a limited period. He said that two bills were in the court of the Governor and he was withdrawing his name from the earlier Bill sent for the assent of the Governor.

Azam Khan revealed that the Central Government does not want to see him as the pro-chancellor so the Bill was not getting approval of the governor. He said that the word Maulana had been dropped from the second Bill because the Congress hates the word Maulana.

"I am a weak person so I accept my defeat and the Congress won the battle in harming the minorities" he told newsmen. Azam Khan, however, avoided questions posed by journalists. 

Azam Khan was seen disappointed for the first time. The Minister of State for Minority Welfare has made a blistering attack on him and blamed him for the delay in the establishment of the University. Azam Khan even replied that Haji saheb was the most qualified and learned person.
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