SP loses its Muslim poster boy Azam Khan

Azam Khan becomes first MP, politician to be imprisoned with family, reports Kulsum Mustafa

The Samajwadi Party seems to have been hit hard yet again. On Wednesday (February 26) its senior leader and party’s lone Muslim poster boy, Rampur MP, Mohammad Azam Khan, his legislator son Abdullah Azam, representing Rampur Suar assembly segment and wife Tezeen Khan, MLA from Rampur Assembly seat were all put behind bar.

The three have been charged with allegedly securing and submitting a fake birth certificate of Abdullah. In one certificate, issued by the Rampur Municipality Abdullah’s DoB is shown as January1, 1993, while the second one, issued from Lucknow, documents his birth as September 30, 1990. The latter which put his age as 27, was used by him for filing his nomination for assembly election where the minimum qualifying age is 25.

The trio were taken into judicial custody till March 2, 2020, after they surrendered in in Rampur Court. on Wednesday. In view of security and public law and order, they were later shifted at dawn to Sitapur jail. Incidentally Khan has set a record of being the only MP and politician to go behind bars with family.

Akash Saxena, a BJP Rampur leader had lodged an FIR in Hazratganj, Lucknow on January 3, 2019, in which he had alleged that Abdullah had submitted a false date of birth certificate. A case was registered against Abdullah, and against Azam Khan and wife for submitting an affidavit to testify the authenticity of the certificate. In April 2020 the police filed a charge sheet, under section 420 Abdullah was unseated by the high court for being underage on the date of filing nomination papers. It was alleged that Abdullah has two passports and two pan cards.

In September 2019, the court issued summons to Khans taking cognizance of the chargesheets filed against them wherein they have been charged with forgery and cheating. But even then when t hey failed to appear before the court, non-bailable warrants were issued. The trio were later declared absconders under section 82 of CrPC

Azam Khan himself and his supporters are crying foul and say that it is all political vendetta and that he is paying the price of being opposing the present regimes anti-people policies.

Khan who is known as fiery orator and hailing from the minority enjoyed a privilige position of being the number two in the party. While his position remained unchallenged during the time the reign of the party and the government were in Party founder Mulayam Singh’s hand, he managed to stay on this position, though a little less firmly, during the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav as Chief minister.

Khan’s position was often challenged by none other Shivpal Yadav, younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Often Khan threw tantrums and had to be cajoled by the top leadership because he filled a slot in the party –that of a Muslim leader and the party could not do without him.  

Azam Khan’s self proclaimed statements of being honest, daring and well wisher of minorities raised many an eyebrow not just among his own partymen but even outside. He had created many foes with his acid tongue and foul temper and language. Not known to have any mercy for anyone who disagreed with him his highly arrogant temperament also antagonized many. Many Stories of his high-handedness and of him misbehaving with his subordinates have done the rounds when he was in power. In fact his entire staff at the secretariat had revolted and had asked for transfer as they alleged that he ill-treated them and spoke to them in foul language.

This was when he held the reign of power, but his arrogance was witnessed even when he stood outside the Rampur prison gate.

The jail authorities must have gauged that keeping Azam Khan in Rampur jail, the place where he ruled for so many years was not a wise decision so early morning around 3 am he was woken up and shifted to Sitapur, nearly 300 km away. News reports of Khan meekly eating dal, roti sabzi as per the jail manual sounded more acceptable.