That Azam Khan and his party, SP, are simply playing to the gallery was obvious when SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav wrote to the EC after it lifted the ban on BJP leader Amit Shah: ‘This is causing a feeling of being discriminated amongst individuals and the organisations to which they belong.”
It’s all about taking the persecution theory forward —the BJP, which talks about Hindutva, has been spared, while Khan is being harassed. Besides calling the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi “elder brother of a puppy”, he said the victory in Kargil was only due to Muslim soldiers.
Interestingly, the EC’s action has come as a windfall to both the BJP and the SP. For, their strategies are directly linked to polarisation on communal lines.
Nothing suits the SP better than the decision to let Shah go lightly while keeping Khan under tight leash. For, the order comes at the time when the party is struggling to stop fragmentation of Muslim votes.
The BJP, on the other hand, knew that Shah in action is more beneficial than with his lips sealed. Shah has emerged as the alter ego of Modi and is managing the poll campaigning in UP.
The mercurial Azam is in any case not known for apologising so easily. Khurshid Ahmad Khan, who has seen him as a student leader, once told HT: “He has always been firebrand, straight-forward and had suffered incarceration during the Emergency because he locked horns with the all-powerful Yunus Khan.”
But now, Khan, the quintessential trouble-maker—even for his own party sometimes — is helping his friend, Mulayam Singh Yadav realise his dream of grabbing the top job.