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Jaya Prada to PM and Kargil: Azam Khan not new to controversies

Azam Khan, known for making controversial statements, to this nine-time Rampur MLA it hardly matters if he is a minister or not or if it’s election season or not. 

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 17, 2019 12:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan,Lok Sabha Elections 2019,Azam Khan comment
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan(PTI File)

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan may be contesting a Lok Sabha election for first time and has been barred from campaigning by the Election Commission for 72 hours, but this 'Mulsim poster boy' of the SP faced a similar situation in the last Parliamentary election as well.

Known for making controversial statements, to this nine-time Rampur MLA it hardly matters if he is a minister or not or if it’s election season or not.

Azam was banned for the entire poll season in 2014 for his remarks against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and other statements. This time, the poll panel has banned him for his statement against rival Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Rampur Jaya Prada. But, Azam and Jaya Prada's war of words began much before Azam became Rampur candidate and Jaya was pitched against him by the BJP.

Last year, around the same time, Jaya Prada had likened Azam with Alauddin Khilji after she watched the movie Padmaavat. Azam was quick to hit back. At an event in Rampur, he 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 some remark about me. Tell me, if I entertain this 'naachne gaane wali', how will I concentrate on politics?"

Perhaps it was the same acrimony between the two which is at play now between the two. Once known as a political patron and his protégé, it was Azam Khan who took Jaya under his wings and helped her win her first Rampur elections in 2004 as an SP candidate. By 2009 Lok Sabha polls, they fell out when Azam’s relation became bitter with Jaya's political mentor Amar Singh.

Azam (70) began his political career in Janta Dal (Secular), moved to Lok Dal, then to Janata Party and then became 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. Mulayam revoked the expulsion in December 2010. Now, he son Abdullah Azam Khan is Suar (Rampur) MLA of the SP and wife Tazeen Fatima is an SP Rajya Sabha member.

One who never tires of shooting from his mouth, some of his remarks for which he faced the flak were: "Allah punished Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi 'forcible' sterilisation during the Emergency and 'shilanyas' at the disputed site in Ayodhya”. "It were the Muslim and not the Hindu soldiers who won the Kargil war for India"(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 on the "murderers of Muzaffarnagar".

In the winters of 2014, Azam demanded that the Taj Mahal be handed over to Waqf board.

Shortly before the Lok Sabha polls, Azam Khan as UP minister in the Akhilesh Yadav 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 was deployed to trace the buffaloes. They were found later.

Once when he was in the Akhilesh Yadav government, Azam held a birthday bash for Mulayam. When some newspersons sought to know who funded the birthday bash, Azam had replied: "Dawood Ibrahim and Taliban funded it” (Fund Taliban se aaya hai. Kuch Dawood ne diya hai, kuch Abu Salem se aaya hai).

Azam Khan was Kumbh Minister and when in 2013 he went to attend an event at Harvard for making a presentation on the success of Kumbh mela, Azam was detained at the Boston airport. He cut short his trip in protest over "humiliating frisking process" there.

In 2015, Azam came under severe criticism for calling Bharat Mata 'Daayan'.

On the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, Azam said 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 was quoted as saying in Bareilly that RSS volunteers were homosexuals and that's why they did not get married.

In 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 Armymen".

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:08 IST