Amid controversy over the absence of Samajwadi Party's Muslim face Mohammad Azam Khan from its national executive meet, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sought to mollify him on Thursday, saying Khan can never be upset with him.
But, earlier in the day, party's National General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav had said that either Khan should have attended the meet or resigned.
"Azam Khan can never be upset with me," Mulayam, who was flanked by senior party leaders including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, told reporters after the valedictory session of the two-day meet.
The SP supremo said that the party knew that why Azam did not attend the meeting. "Our's is a democratic party and not an autocratic one," he said.
Asked about some SP leaders speaking against Khan, Mulayam said that whatever statement need to be given had been made.
When pointed that Khan, who hold a number of portfolios in the Akhilesh Yadav government, was also not attending Cabinet meetings, Mulayam said the question should be put to the chief minister.
On this, Akhilesh replied, "This is the national executive meeting. What can I say now."
Ramgopal Yadav had earlier said in Agra that the absence of Khan was not felt at the meeting on Wednesday. "It is a national executive meeting and all prominent leaders are present here...He was not here, but its does not make any difference and his absence was not felt," he had told PTI, adding, "With such a behaviour a person lowers his own stature."
The SP national general secretary had said the party was not concerned who comes or not. "Akhilesh is the chief minister and Netaji (Mulayam) is the leader...there is no other bigger leader," he said.