Lucknow, April 9 (IANS) Even as Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav flew to New Delhi Monday where he is likely to meet an upset Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid, senior party leader Mohd Azam Khan refused to call a ceasefire with the Imam and challenged him to contest and win the mayoral elections from Moradabad.
Launching a broadside against Bukhari, Azam Khan said if Imam Bukhari was confident about his standing amongst the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, he should contest from Moradabad, where his wife hails from. "If Bukhari wins, I will quit active politics and retire," Azam Khan fumed in Lucknow on his return from Rampur Monday.
The state urban development minister also sought an apology from Bukhari for his unparliamentary comments on senior leader of the SP and Rajya Sabha member Munnavar Salim, and called the Imam a "communal person" who had supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during its 2003-04 India Shining campaign.
Accusing him of taking obligations of two petrol pumps from the then union petroleum minister in the NDA government, Ram Naik, Azam Khan also sought action against Bukhari by the Delhi Waqf Board.
The two Muslim leaders are at war with each other for long and the hostilities escalated last week after the Imam wrote a terse letter to Mulayam Singh and returned the party ticket given to his son-in-law Umar Khan. He had also targeted Azam Khan, following which the latter has also spewed fire at the Imam.
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