The growing proximity between Samajwadi Party and former BJP vice-president Kalyan Singh, who was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, has come under severe criticism from a prominent Muslim MP of the SP, Shafiqur Rehman Barq, who voiced his dissent on Tuesday.
"Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement that Kalyan Singh was not involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid is completely baseless and wrong. The friendship between Kalyan and Mulayam has opened the wounds of Muslims and hurt their self-respect," Barq, the Samajwadi Party MP from Moradabad, told reporters.
Though SP has not yet formally declared a candidate from Sambhal, sources said Barq, a three-time MP of the party from Moradabad, has been denied the ticket for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"I will contest from Sambhal this time as an independent candidate," Barq said. Sambhal, located next to Moradabad, is his hometown and has a sizable Muslim population post the delimitation. Barq said he was aware that SP has plans to field another Muslim candidate from this seat.
He claimed that Samajwadi Party had lost support of Muslims after coming close to Kalyan Singh. "Mulayam Singh should know that Kalyan Singh was imprisoned for one day for the Babri Masjid demolition," Barq, who is also the convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee, said.
When asked whether he would quit SP, Barq said he had not taken any such decision but "if the party wants, it can oust me".