The Uttar Pradesh government's cabinet minister Azam Khan's statement over funding for the grand birthday celebrations of Mulayam Singh Yadav has triggered yet another controversy on Friday.
BJP MLA Suresh Rana has demanded an enquiry to unearth the minister's link with the underworld and terrorist organisations.
Upset over mediapersons' repeated questions about the funding for the grand event, an irate Khan, who has been personally taking care of the event to make it memorable, said money had come from Taliban and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"Why does it matter where the money for celebrations is coming from? Some have come from Taliban, some from Abu Salem, some from Dawood and some from terrorists," Khan apparently told the media sarcastically.
His statement immediately triggered a controversy and BJP MLA from Thanabhawan constituency, Rana, demanded an enquiry into Azam's relations with Taliban, Abu Salem and Dawood Ibrahim. "It is a serious matter for the state government and the chief minister should order an enquiry to ascertain his confession," said Rana, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Congress leader in the state legislative council, Naseeb Pathan, also criticised the cabinet minister for giving such an irresponsible statement. "Being a cabinet minister and senior leader, he should not give such irresponsible statements," he said.
Azam's arch rival and senior Congress leader from Rampur, Begum Noor Bano, however, anticipated that it could be his calculated remark to sabotage communal harmony in Rampur. "He wants to keep himself in the news by giving such controversial statements," she said. "It could be another wicked tactic of his to spoil the secular character of Rampur," she added.
She also raised questions over such a grand function for a Samajwadi Party leader like Mulayam Singh Yadav, who believes in the ideology of Lohia and other socialist thinkers.
The main function of Mulayam's birthday would be held in Mohd Ali Jauhar University whose chancellor is Mohd Azam Khan.
His birthday is on Saturday and he will cut the cake on Friday midnight and, on the next day, lay down the foundation stone of Rampur Medical College in the premises of Jauhar University. He will also address a rally along with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday afternoon.