Akhilesh Yadav’s bid to appease Azam Khan upsets SP allies: Mahan Dal exits, SBSP says ‘disappointed’

The disgruntled allies feel that the party’s decision is largely influenced by senior leader Azam Khan’s presence which has led to Akhilesh Yadav ignore the alliance partners.

The disgruntled allies feel that the party’s decision is largely influenced by senior leader Azam Khan’s presence which has led to Akhilesh Yadav ignore the alliance partners.

Cracks in the Samajwadi Party-led opposition alliance are now wide open with Akhilesh Yadav’s party not allotting a single ticket to allies for the UP Legislative Council elections. Keshav Dev Maurya-led Mahan Dal has announced its exit from the alliance and Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suhuldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) expressing disappointment.

The disgruntled allies feel that the party’s decision is largely influenced by senior leader Azam Khan’s presence which has led to Akhilesh Yadav ignore the alliance partners, reported The Indian Express.

“He (Akhilesh) is going after them (Muslims), but is not seeing that the Backwards (Other Backward Classes, or OBCs) are more important for the alliance. All decisions are being made based on the directions from the senior leader (Azam). If Akhilesh ji wants to continue the alliance then he must make up his mind whether he wants us or not. Because alliances mean sharing. What is happening is the opposite,” SBSP general secretary Arun Rajbhar was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.

No SBSP member has made it to the list. According to party sources, its chief Om Prakash Rajbhar had been hoping that the SP would field his son Arvind Rajbhar.

The purported differences between Khan and Yadav became evident two months ago when the former’s media-in-charge Fasahat Ali Khan accused the SP chief of ignoring the veteran leader. 

Fasahat claimed that Yadav had ignored Azam Khan during the two years he spent in prison and also ignored the issues of the Muslim community. 

Days ahead of his release, Azam Khan refused to meet a delegation sent by Yadav to Sitapur prison while meeting the SP chief’s uncle and Pragatsiheel Samajwadi Party chief Shivpal Yadav, who has already made it clear that he is not happy with Akhilesh and is “exploring” other options.

After being released from prison on May 20, Azam did not reach out to Akhilesh and refused to meet him when he visited the state Assembly to take oath as an MLA.

Yadav’s efforts to appease Khan have been evident in the past few weeks. First, the party announces its support to former Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who filed nomination for Rajya Sabha as an Independent candidate. Sibal took up Khan’s case in the Supreme Court. 

Sibal had also helped Akhilesh retain the party’s bicycle symbol in 2017 when the first family was locked in an intense family feud, probably the worst in the SP’s existence.    

Then, the party fielded Azam’s confidant Asim Raja from Rampur to fill the seat vacated by the veteran leader following his election to the UP Assembly. The announcement was made not from Lucknow but from the SP office in Rampur.

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