The assembly ticket to son of a Pakistan national has caused flutter in Samajwadi Party. Some Muslim leaders are up in arm against the decision that could jeopardize the party’s chances in the election next year.
The controversial candidate from Behat (Saharanpur) is Omar Khan, son-in-law of Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid Ahmad Bukhari. Born in Karachi in 1977 Omar, 34, migrated to India nearly along with his parents (father Sarfaraz Khan and mother Bismillah Begum). Father is still living in India on long-term visa. Omar was nearly five-month-old when he migrated to India.
The SP, while announcing list of 165 candidates last week, had given tickets to 30 Muslims.
However well entrenched Muslim family of SP vice-president and Rajya Sabha member Rashid Masood in Saharanpur has raised banner of revolt against the party’s decision.
Imran Masood, SP’s nominee from Nukad (Saharanpur) told HT over phone “Pakistan nationality issue would adversely affect the party’s prospects as the rivals would try to cash in on it”.
Masood’s uncle Rashid Masood is also sulking, as the party leadership did not consult him before clearing Omar’s name. Rashid Masood said “I could only give suggestion to the SP leadership”. He said Pakistan nationality issue was a potent weapon that could damage the party on other seats in west UP. He said Sarfaraz Khan was deported to Pakistan nearly four years ago but he came back. “As a MP I had recommended for his visa”, Rashid Masood said.
Omar after completing MBA went to Dubai for a job but shifted back to India in 2007 to take up agriculture in his village Pacher (Saharanpur).
“I am Indian national but my father is on long-term visa”. His nationality issue is pending with central government”, Omar said adding he had last visited Pakistan in 2009.
Omar said he had good relationship with Masood family and would get its support in the election. But Imran Masood is unbending. “There is no question of a compromise”, he said and added Omar would forfeit his deposit in the election.
“We have no political relations with Ahmad Bukhari”, Masood said, adding “we never shared platform with Bukhari in western UP”.
Ahmad Bukhari said “I am surprised over opposition from Rashid Masood”. Bukhari said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had asked Omar to contest the election. “The opposition to Omar’s name was just because of vested interest”, he added.
Reacting to the issue, the SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhury said that the issue would be amicably settled. “It is not crisis-like situation”, he said. But sources in Rashtriya Lok Dal said that efforts were being made to bring back Rashid Masood family to the party-fold.