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Azam Khan attacks Cong over minority representation in cabinet

December 24, 2010 19:28 IST
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Friday dismissed criticism over his controversial remarks on Kashmir and said the Congress cannot shy away from answering why there was only one Muslim minister in the Union cabinet.

"Even in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, many more Muslims were inducted in comparison to the United Progressive Alliance government led by the Congress," Khan, who rejoined SP recently, told mediapersons in Rampur.

"The Congress will have to respond to my charge," he said, adding, there was a need for giving "judicious representation to the country's largest minority community in the Union cabinet".

Khan had earlier stoked a controversy when he questioned whether Kashmir was part of India.

"Only one Muslim minister (Gulam Nabi Azad) is there in the Union cabinet and that too not of India, but from Kashmir. That Kashmir, which is still controversial and we don't know whether that is part of India or not," Khan had said.

The Congress had condemned Khan's remarks as "most unfortunate" while Bharatiya Janata Party dubbed them as "irresponsible." There was also a demand that Khan be booked on charges of treason.

However, the SP leader remained unapologetic, saying, "It is my opinion". He claimed that he was being criticised by his rivals to gain political mileage. "Azad, who is the lone Muslim face in the cabinet, is unaware of the problems of the people," he said.

Alleging that attempts were being made to weaken Muslim community for political purposes, Khan said, "Certain anti-Muslim forces are also branding terrorism as Muslim terrorism and saffron terrorism under a calculated conspiracy to gain political mileage." He said his party has decided to take to the streets in Delhi very soon to unveil the conspiracies of politicians who exploit religious sentiments.

Attacking BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for criticising his comments on Kashmir and calling him "anti-national", Khan demanded a probe into the property owned by Naqvi.
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