The meeting of the executive committee of the Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit here on November 13 is likely to witness a heated discussion over the revocation of Azam Khan’s expulsion from the party.
Nearly a dozen Muslim MLAs of the SP are not amused over the party’s decision to revoke Khan’s expulsion. These MLAs fear that they would be marginalised if Khan decides to return to the party and play a dominant role as he did during the SP’s stint in power from 2003-2007 when SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was chief minister of the state.
“Such is the mood among these legislators that the possibility of some of them moving to other parties cannot be ruled out,” an SP leader said on Sunday.
The party had issued show-cause notices to two MLAs — Shahid Manzoor (Meerut) and Iqbal Mahmood (Sambhal) for speaking against Azam Khan. But the notices were withdrawn after Yadav revoked Khan’s expulsion on November 2. Party sources indicated some members of Yadav’s family are firmly behind the Muslim MLAs who are against Khan’s return to the SP.
The resentment among the Muslim MLAs has put the party leadership on the defensive as it does not want any adverse fallout of Khan’s re-entry.
The Congress is already eying the SP’s Muslim leaders and with UP Muslims now perceived to be favourably inclined towards the Congress, the dissenting MLAs might not find it difficult to find political alternatives for themselves.
Over the past year, the SP has lost some prominent Muslim leaders. They include Salim Sherwani who joined the Congress, Shafiqur Rahman Barq and Yaqoob Quereshi who crossed over to the BSP and Shahid Sidiqque who opted for the Rashtriya Lok Dal.