Playing "minority card" the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday appointed senior party leader Rashid Masood as national vice president and former minister Ata-ur-rahman as national secretary.
Rashid Masood, who is also member central parliamentary board, had lost 2009 Lok Sabha election from Saharanpur. The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) nominee Jagdish Singh Rana had wrested the seat from Masood who had lost the minority-dominated seat because of the resentment in community over Mulayam Singh-Kalyan Singh alliance. The party had also suffered considerably in Lok Sabha poll in western UP due to this tie-up.
While speculations are rife in political circle over revocation of suspension of Mohd Azam Khan, elevation of Masood to the level of vice president is being seen as Yadav’s deft move to appease the Muslim community after distancing himself from Kalyan Singh. Khan was sacked because of his anti-party activities during Lok Sabha election in Rampur.
Even though Azam Khan sarcastically told newsmen here today that he had been eagerly waiting for “good offer” from the party as part of “rehabilitation”, sources said he had reportedly established contacts with central Congress leaders to join the party. It is learnt that some Muslim leaders had been lobbying for his induction in the Congress. The SP sources however said that efforts were being made to sort out differences with Khan, who had revolted against the alliance with Kalyan Singh.
While filling up the vacancies caused by the death of Janeshwar Mishra and resignations of Amar Singh, Sanjay Dutt and Rajbir Singh, the SP chief had appointed Brij Bhushan Tiwari and vice president, Mohan Singh, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad and Ram Asre Kushwaha as general secretaries on Wednesday. Yadav has also appointed Sunilam as national secretary.
The SP unit chief Akhilesh Singh Yadav and leader of Opposition Shivpal Singh Yadav said these appointments would further strengthen the party in the state. Akhilesh said it would boost Samajwadi movement in the state.