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Azam Khan, the politician who is prone to controversy

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NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan, who has represented Rampur assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh for nine times and is now the SP-BSP-RLD candidate for Lok Sabha election from Rampur, is no stranger to controversy.

His recent remarks against Jaya Prada, who is fighting against him from Rampur as a BJP candidate, follows a long history of acrimony with the actress-turned-politician, dating back to the times when both of them were in SP. When Jaya Prada fought her Lok Sabha elections in 2004, Khan was a close friend and campaigned for her. Later, factional politics in SP saw Azam Khan and Amar SIngh fighting each other bitterly and Jaya Prada sided with Amar Singh. During the 2009 elections, when Azam Khan was supporting Jaya Prada’s opponent, she alleged that he had circulated her

nude posters and CDs

. Last year after the release of the film ‘Padmaavat’. Jayaprada said Alauddin Khilji’s character in ‘Padmaavat’ reminded her of Azam Khan and how he harassed her when she was contesting elections from Rampur in 2009. Azam Khan hit back at her, calling her a “naachnewali”.

Before joining SP in 1993, Azam Khan had been a member of Janata Party (Secular), Lok Dal, Janata Dal and Janata Party. He left SP in 2009 due to the party allying with former BJP leader Kalayan Singh in Lok Sabha elections, a deal brokered by his foe Amar Singh. The party faced serious reverses and the Lok Sabha results clearly indicated that SP’s Muslim vote-bank had drifted away. He was later re-inducted into the party.

Azam Khan’s most controversial affair was the theft of his buffaloes in 2014 when he was a senior minister. Entire police machinery of the district was reportedly forced to investigate the case. Even sniffer dogs were used. He became a butt of jokes for the misplaced security priorities. The police eventually traced seven buffaloes which were stolen from his farmhouse. However, three local policemen who were on night patrol when the incident took place were stripped of their post and sent back to the police lines.

At an election rally in Ghaziabad in 2014, Khan created a controversy by making communal comments on the Kargil war. “Those who fought for victory in Kargil were not Hindu soldiers. In fact the ones who fought for our victory were Muslim soldiers,” he said. Once again in 2017, he made controversial statement about army soldiers. Addressing party activists in Rampur, he referred to “shameful violent happenings” in places such as Kashmir, Tripura, Jharkhand and Bengal. He said excesses by security forces had led to “women in some places chopping off the private parts of Army men”.

During the campaign for Lok Sabha election in 2014, he said Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were punished by God for “forcible” sterilization during the Emergency and ‘shilanyas’ at the disputed site in Ayodhya. “Rajiv Gandhi had ordered opening of the gates of Babri Masjid while Sanjay Gandhi carried out vasectomy programme forcefully and both got punishment from Allah (God),” Khan said at an election rally in Bijnor. Sanjay Gandhi died in an air crash in Delhi in 1980 while Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated near Chennai on May 21, 1991.

Recently, Azam Khan, his wife and Rajya Sabha MP Tanzeen Fatimah and their son Abdullah Azam, an MLA, were booked for cheating and forgery for allegedly making two birth certificates of their son, Abdullah, from different places. The complainant had alleged that Azam and his wife got two birth certificates for their son issued from Rampur and Lucknow.

Last month, a special investigation team began a probe into the allotment of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Research Centre building to Azam Khan’s Jauhar Trust by the minorities welfare department during the previous Samajwadi Party regime. The Rampur Public School, managed by the trust, is run in this building.

Source: Economic Times