Lucknow, May 24 (IANS) The intra-party feud between Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders Azam Khan and Amar Singh that had virtually turned into a street-fight culminated Sunday in the expulsion of the former from the party for six years.
The announcement about his expulsion was no surprise in the wake of the bitterness that touched its nadir with Khan openly training his guns against actress Jaya Prada, SP's Lok Sabha MP from his hometown Rampur, and her political mentor Amar Singh.
Khan, who was among the core founders of the party at the time of its inception in 1992, lost the bitter battle to Amar Singh, who was not even a force in politics at that time but literally controls the affairs of Mulayam Singh Yadav's party today.
'Azam Khan has been expelled for indulging in gross indiscipline and in anti-party activities,' SP president Mulayam Singh told IANS here. 'The expulsion was for a period of six years.'
On the other hand, in a statement issued in Rampur, Khan said he had already resigned both from the general secretaryship of the party as well as from the additional positions of member of the party's parliamentary board and that of SP deputy leader in the state assembly.
While the root cause of Khan's ire was the re-nomination of Jaya Prada, for whom he had campaigned in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the rift between him and the party widened following Mulayam Singh's handshake with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) rebel Kalyan Singh, who was better known as the Babri Mosque demolition man.
Khan, who had also been convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), felt cheated on account of Mulayam Singh's new found bonhomie with Kalyan.
'Any kind of compromise with the man who was not only directly responsible for the demolition of the (16th century) mosque but had also been convicted for the act by a court was just unthinkable for me,' Khan told reporters then.
'No Muslim can pardon the man for what he did. This is hurting the sentiments of Muslims who have always stood by Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party for two long decades,' he said.
A vociferous and belligerent Khan flayed Mulayam Singh and blamed it on Amar Singh, who accused Khan of every tirade that was unleashed against Jaya Prada in Rampur.
Even her obscene posters were attributed to the estranged SP leader, who in turn labelled Amar Singh as a 'tout' and a 'wheeler-dealer'.
Reacting sharply to Khan's repeated attacks, Amar Singh chose to twice threaten Mulayam Singh that he would quit the party 'unless Azam (Khan) was reined in'.
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