URBAN DEVELOPMENT Minister Mohd Azam Khan has launched a ‘desperate’ drive to politically cash in on the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University issue following the Governor TV Rajeswar’s belated assent to the Bill. The move comes amid a lukewarm response from the people of Rampur to the Bill getting the nod.
Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely to lay the foundation of the project next month.
The minister has been trying to ward off the anti-incumbency factor in his hometown by firing salvos at the Congress.
Thus, moves are afoot to turn the university versus Congress issue into a poll plank to steer through the crisis. Immediately, after clearance of the Bill, Khan had targeted the Congress for the delay. Again on Wednesday, he assailed Union Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay for his statement that the Jauhar University was first visualised by the late Rajiv Gandhi.
Khan also assailed former Congress MP from Rampur Noor Bano for hampering clearance of the university Bill. According to information, the people of Rampur have lost interest in the university because of “lots of politicking” on the issue during the last two years.
While Khan wants to turn the issue into another electoral victory, whether he will be able to take advantage of it outside Rampur is debatable. Minister for Haj and Minorities welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi has already accused Khan of trying to establish the university to serve his personal interest.
“It is a commercial establishment, which will not help the common Muslim,” Qureshi commented. There is also a feeling in the Samajwadi Party that project is unlikely to yield political dividends because of an inordinate delay in its implementation. The project has also led to a split in the Rampur SP unit.
Being at loggerheads with Rampur SP MP Jaya Prada, who is a confidant of SP general secretary Amar Singh, the minister had recently refused to accept the money from her MP local area development fund (MPLAD) for the university.
Khan said she required funds for other projects. Khan had also flayed her for not undertaking developmental work in the constituency.
By rejecting Jaya’s offer, Khan has given a clear-cut message to her that she is no longer acceptable to Rampur.