Expelled Samajwadi Party member and prominent Muslim leader Mohammed Azam Khan rejoined the party and attended the meeting of its state office-bearers in Lucknow on Saturday. This may be a major shot in the arm for the party that is desperate to win back the support of Muslims ahead of the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
The 62-year-old Khan was offered the post of the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, but he turned down the offer made by Shivpal Singh Yadav who currently holds the post.
“Many people would misinterpret that the intention of the reunion is political gains,” Khan said. “So I cannot accept it (post of opposition leader).”
Khan held the post before he was expelled from the party prior to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections following differences with party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over the latter's alignment with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh and the increased clout of the then party general secretary Amar Singh.
However, Mulayam’s subsequent parting of ways with Kalyan and Amar Singh paved the way for Azam’s re-entry.
“Call it my fortune or misfortune that I took upon myself the responsibility of raising the issues of the party warming up to Kalyan Singh or some other people who were harming the party for their gains,” Khan said. “The party has now admitted that it had made a mistake on the Kalyan issue, so there are no more differences.”
The Samajwadi Party had revoked Azam Khan’s expulsion on November 2. On November 27, Khan announced his intention to rejoin the party. “The political scenario in the county is changing fast. If the party has to do something significant, then it cannot be done without Azam Khan,” Mulayam said on Saturday. “We are together again, and this togetherness is stronger than before.”
The two leaders shook hands and were garlanded by party workers.