A convention of Muslims to be held under the aegis of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Lucknow on Saturday has snubbed veteran party leaders like Urban Development Minister Azam Khan and Health Minister Ahmad Hasan.
Among other issues, the meet is also intended to counter the Congress campaign to push its own case by giving undue hype to the chances of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi becoming the country’s next prime minister.
“The Congress party was deliberately trying to build a false impression that unless Muslims voted for the party in the next Lok Sabha election, Modi would polarise votes to emerge as the next prime minister,” alleged Riaz Ahmad a relatively junior minister holding the portfolio of Khadi and Village Industries.
Organised under the banner of the Samajwadi Party’s minority wing that had remained a dormant body so far, it was Ahmad Hasan’s initiative that had led to staging of the first of its kind convention in Lucknow. Hasan too makes no bones about his intent to provide a forum for direct interaction between members of the minority wing of the party with Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilkesh Yadav.
“I have deliberately kept all senior Muslim leaders of the party away from this meet , otherwise our common Muslim workers would not get the opportunity to have one-on-one dialogue with the top SP leadership,” observed Riaz Ahmad.
While speculation is rife that the convention was aimed at developing new and a younger Muslim leadership within the SP, where Azam Khan and Ahmad Hasan have emerged as the most prominent Muslim mascots, organiser Riaz Ahmad claims, “We wish to draw the chief minister and the party president’s attention to the dilly-dallying on key issues like constitution of the State Minorities Commission, the State Madrasa Board as well as the Urdu Akademi.”
However, his anguish against the functioning of Azam Khan did come to the fore when he pointed out, “Mind you all, these institutions come under the ministry of minorities welfare, which was also among the multiple portfolios held by Azam Khan.
Azam Khan was not available for comment.