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Manish Chandra Pandey, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, September 13, 2013
There is an Azam Khan fan club page on Facebook. And there is a fake Facebook account of the mercurial Uttar Pradesh minister too. The first account has several ‘likes’ for the six-time MLA from the state’s Rampur constituency.


But in the latter — over which Khan recently shot off letters to the police, seeking action against those behind it — he is quoted as saying that secularism and patriotism are not acceptable in Islam.

The contradictory claims about Azam, 62, in the social media seem to capture the inherent contradictions in Khan’s life as well.

It was in the 2000 Lok Sabha bypoll that Khan campaigned for present UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Kannauj.

As Akhilesh went from strength to strength, Khan kept battling contradictions — facing the ignominy in 2009 of having to leave the party he had co- founded in 1992 only to be welcomed back a year later at an emotional reunion at the Samajwadi Party headquarters in Lucknow.

After Mulayam crowned his son Akhilesh as CM, he ensured that Khan remained the number two minister. “Netaji always ensures that due respect is given to Azam saheb,” said an SP leader.

But since March 2012 when Azam took oath as a minister, he offered to quit on several occasions, dubbed officers as anti-Muslim, questioned his own government’s handling of the recent riots and sulked. All this led his detractors to point out that Khan was acting as the ‘super chief minister’ and indulging in indiscipline. But  Mulayam ensured that Khan had the last word even on Thursday when after his party leaders had hit out against Khan, Mulayam shut everyone up by feigning ignorance about any anti-Khan mood among several party leaders.