Azam Khan no stranger to controversies, has a history of squabbles
Samajwadi Party (SP) Lok Sabha member Mohammed Azam Khan (70) is no stranger to controversies. His utterances in Parliament, in the very first session of his maiden House stint, have triggered a storm leading to his statement being expunged from the Lok Sabha records.
BJP MPs, especially the women, are up in arms against Azam, demanding an apology or action against him over his alleged sexist remarks on BJP MP Ram Devi that he made in Parliament on Thursday.
Even the Election Commission of India had banned this nine-time Rampur MLA for the entire poll season during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it banned him from campaigning for 72 hours over his misogynist remarks against BJP candidate Jaya Prada.
Without naming Jaya Prada, he addressed a gathering in Rampur saying: “Aapne das saal apna pratinidhtva karwaya (you made her represent you for 10 years). Rampur waalon, Uttar Pradesh waalon, Hindustaan waalon ko uski asliyat samajhne mein satrah baras lag gaye. Aur main satrah dinon mein pehchaan gaya ki inke neeche ka joh underwear hai, woh khaaki rang ka hai (“The people of Rampur, UP, and India took 17 years to know her true colours. However, it took me just 17 days to see that the innerwear she wears is Khakhi in colour”), in a reference to the RSS.
Last year, around the same time when ‘Padmaavat’ had just been released, Jaya Prada had likened Azam Khan to Alauddin Khilji. Azam was quick to hit back. At an event in Rampur, he had said: “‘In Padmaavat’, I heard Khilji’s character is very bad. Padmaavati left this world before Khilji’s arrival. But now, a woman, a naachne waali (dancer), has made a remark about me. Tell me, if I entertain this ‘naachne-gaane wali’, how will I concentrate on politics?”
While the FIR against Azam over the controversial and derogatory statement on Jaya’s clothing was filed; Azam kicked up another controversy by saying: “Don’t worry about the Rampur DM. After winning the elections, I will make him clean Mayawatiji’s sandals.” Azam Khan has been at loggerheads with the District Magistrate over the demolition of a gate leading to his pet project - Jauhar University in Rampur. Now, Azam Khan is under fire from the district administration over the alleged land-grab for the university and the state government also listed him as a land grabber in the UP government’s anti-land mafia portal.
Azam Khan began his political career as Janta Dal (Secular), then moved to Lok Dal, and then to Janata Party and then was the founder member of Samajwadi Party in 1992. He fell out with Mulayam Singh Yadav when Mulayam inducted former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh into the SP. He was expelled from the party in 2009 and then Mulayam revoked the expulsion in December 2010. Now, his son, Abdullah Azam Khan is Suar (Rampur) MLA from SP and wife Tazeen Fatima is SP Rajya Sabha member.
At the beginning of the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign, Azam as an SP star campaigner had remarked against the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi when he had said: “The country’s reins should not be handed over to a murderer. A man with a blot must not be allowed to become ‘badshah (emperor) of the country”.
In the same elections, attacking the Congress, Azam had said that “Allah punished Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for ‘forcible’ sterilisation during the Emergency and ‘shilanyas’ at the disputed site in Ayodhya.”
The EC had banned Azam for the full poll season after his comments on Kargil when he said: “it was the Muslim soldiers who won Kargil war for India, not the Hindu soldiers”. The exact words were: “Kargil ki pahadiyon ko fateh karney wala koi Hindu nahin tha. Kargil ki pahadiyon ko fateh karney wala Musalaman fauji tha.”
He had also made an appeal to take revenge for the “murderers of Muzaffarnagar”.
In the winter of 2014, Azam demanded that the Taj Mahal be handed over to Waqf board.
Shortly before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Azam Khan, as the UP minister in Akhilesh cabinet, hogged the headlines nationwide when he alleged that some of his buffaloes were stolen and a team of over 100 police personnel and sniffer dogs were pressed into service to find them.
Once during the Akhilesh Yadav government, Azam held a birthday bash for Mulayam. When some newsperson sought to know who funded the birthday bash, Azam had replied: “Dawood Ibrahim and Taliban funded it.” The exact words were: “Fund Taliban se aaya hai. Kuch Dawood ne diya hai, kuch Abu Salem se aaya hai.”
Azam is often criticised by rivals for allegedly calling Bharat Mata ‘Daayan’ (witch) once. He later clarified that he was quoted out of context and what he had said was no mother wants her children to die and the one who wants her children to die could only be a witch, not a mother.
Over the 2015 series of Paris terror attacks, Azam said that they were the result of the action of superpowers like America and Russia and “history will decide who is a terrorist.”
In 2015, as UP minister, Azam Khan in Bareilly was quoted as saying that RSS volunteers are homosexuals and that’s why they do not get married.
During the 2017 UP Assembly elections, while addressing party workers in Rampur, he referred to “shameful violent happenings” in places such as Kashmir, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tripura. He had said excesses by security forces had led to “women in some places chopping off the private parts of Army men”.