Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Man Friday Azam Khan is considered the chief architect of the Muslim agenda of Samajwadi Party’s (SP) manifesto. The former Uttar Pradesh minister was expelled from the party in 2009 for airing opinions against its growing proximity with Hindutva icon Kalyan Singh as well as the growing importance of Amar Singh in the party ranks. Last year, Yadav himself invited Khan back into the party.
In an interview with Pankaj Jaiswal, the general secretary says he will make sure that the SP fulfils all its promises made to Muslims if it wins the upcoming assembly polls. Excerpts:
You left the party and returned almost a year ago. How has the party fared in the past year?
I had not left the party. It expelled me. The party has got rid of the people I rebelled against — Amar Singh and Kalyan Singh. So I returned. The party has healed well and is on track.
There is talk that the Congress and Peace Party will dent SP’s Muslim vote bank.
Peace Party? It is a party whose president cannot be sure of winning the election he is contesting. Muslims now have seen Congress tricks. They are exposed. The latest case in point is the reservations they announced. Muslims would get only 0.8% reservation because the 4% would divided among six religious minorities.
What about the SP’s promises to Muslims?
I will ensure that all promises are fulfiled. Why only Muslims, our manifesto is for all. Snakebite death compensation is for all, not just Muslims. Unemployment allowance, motorised rickshaws, computers etc are for all, not just Muslims.
What do you have to say about the Mayawati govt?
How can a government blow up public money on stone monuments? Misuse of exchequer should be considered a criminal offence. It should warrant capital punishment. Same punishment, even if our party commits such an offence.
Who is going to be the chief minister if SP forms the government?
No, if we are forming the government, CM would be out of consensus.