Fasahat Ali Khan, jailed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan's spokesperson, has accused SP President Akhilesh Yadav of ignoring Azam Khan and the Muslim community, sparking speculation over another rift in the party.
Fasahat Khan said Akhilesh had met Azam Khan only once in jail and the party made no attempt for his release in the past two-and-a-half years.
He also alleged that despite Muslims overwhelmingly voting for Yadav and the SP, the former UP chief minister never uttered a word for the community.
Fasahat Khan said this was his 'personal pain', but he would tell Azam Khan that it is high time to take a "decision". He made the remarks at a party programme in Rampur on Sunday. A video of his comments has surfaced on social media.
The outburst by Azam Khan's aide came days after hints from Yadav's uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who heads the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party, that he might snap ties with the Samajwadi party.
'Azam Khan has been in jail for the last two-and-a-half years, but the Samajwadi Party has done nothing for his release -- didn't even protest in one district,' Fasahat Ali Khan said. 'What would be more absurd than this that Akhilesh Yadav met Azam Khan in jail only once.'
'Can it be assumed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is right in saying that Akhilesh Yadav does not want that Azam Khan come out of jail?' he asked.
Fasahat Ali Khan also accused Akhilesh Yadav of neglecting Azam Khan, saying the SP president did not take his name when he spoke in the assembly recently.
'You spoke about the seniority of many people. but you did not remember Azam Khan Sahab, Fasahat Khan said.
'Who is a more senior MLA than Azam Sahab? But still, Akhilesh Yadavji you didn't take Azam Khan's name,' he said.
'We made you and your father (Mulayam Singh Yadav) chief minister. You could not have a big heart and make Azam Khan Sahab the Leader of the Opposition,' he added.
Accusing the Samajwadi Party chief of neglecting Muslims, he said it was only because of the community that the SP had won 111 seats in the assembly election.
'It is a bitter truth that your own caste did not vote for you,' he said.
'For the national president, our clothes give off bad smell. He doesn't want to take our name from the stage,' Fasahat Khan said. 'I want to ask you whether Abdul (the Muslim community) has taken the entire responsibility.'
'He will lay out the mat, vote for you and also go to jail. Abdul will be ruined in the CAA and the NRC. His house will be attached. Recovery will also be made from him, but there would not be a word from your mouth,' Fasahat Khan added.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party national spokesperson Ashutosh Verma junked the allegations, saying Azam Khan has a bigger place in the party than leaders like Janeshwar Mishra and Beni Prasad Verma.
Azam Khan, who is imprisoned in Sitapur jail, won the election from Rampur Sadar for the 10th time. He resigned from the Lok Sabha, to which he had been elected from Rampur, to remain an MLA.
Azam Khan is among a handful of legislators who have not taken oath in the new assembly so far.