Amar threatens to quit SP over tiff with Azam
In a surprising move, SP general secretary Amar Singh dared party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to choose between him and party leader Azam Khan and said he was prepared to walk out of the organisation. He also added that he couldn't take party member Azam Khan's insults any longer. "SP can exist without me but not without Azam Khan, it appears," he said.india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 19:18 IST
In a surprising move, Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh on Tuesday dared party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to choose between him and party leader Azam Khan and said he was prepared to walk out of the organisation.
Addressing a seminar on 'Indian Muslims and Lok Sabha elections', organised by a lesser-known new outfit called the Students Islamic Federation of India (SIFI) at the Sahkarita Bhawan in Lucknow, Amar Singh suddenly went off tangent and trained his guns on Azam Khan.
"Azam Khan continues to humiliate me and I have continued to overlook all that simply because I have tremendous respect for (party chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav, who does not want anyone to speak out against Azam Khan," he said at the meet.
The tenor of his speech indicated that the prolonged clash of egos between the two party bigwigs may soon reach a flash point.
Khan has been vehemently opposed to Amar Singh's protégé and film actress Jayaprada being pitted for the Lok Sabha election from Rampur, Khan's home contituency.
"Sure enough, Azam Khan is very close to Mulayam Singh; even closer than me, so I dare not utter anything against Azam Khan under any circumstances," Amar Singh said.
"I do not mind that, as I consider myself a small but committed worker of the party," he added.
Virtually throwing the gauntlet at Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh said sarcastically: "If people think that the party can survive without me but not without Azam Khan, I would not hesitate to say good-bye to Mulayam Singh-ji and make an exit from the party."
The audience looked stunned at the remarks as Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh share strong bonds.
The meet nearly came to an abrupt end with the departure of Amar Singh and film actor Sanjay Dutt, who was to be the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Lucknow seat before the Supreme Court ruled against him.
Some of the maulanas (clerics) at the meet said they would have abstained had they known this was going to be a gathering of politicians.
Political observers point out that Amar Singh is seen as largely responsible for alienating a number of other prominent party leaders over the years.
They include Beni Prasad Verma, Raj Babbar, Saleem Sherwani, Shafiqur Rehman Burke and Shahid Siddiqui. They all switched loyalties either to the Congress or the Bahujan Samaj Party largely because of Amar Singh's perceived dominance over Mulayam Singh Yadav.
No Samajwadi Party leader was ready to make a comment on the issue.
"No comments. You should ask Netaji (Mulayam) only," said party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary.
Mulayam Singh Yadav was busy campaigning in other parts of Uttar Pradesh.