‘I understand Azam Khan’s agony, I was subject to similar treatment by SP,’ says Jayaprada

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Hot and cold Jaya Prada (right) and Azam Khan in a rally in Rampur in 2004 Photo: Shailendra Pandey
Jaya Prada (right) and Azam Khan in a rally in Rampur in 2004, Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Proving the adage that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, Jayaprada, the expelled Samajwadi Party MP from Rampur, today came out in open support of senior SP minister Azam Khan. As the two are considered to be sworn enemies, this is quite an interesting development in the baffling politics of Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2014 parliament elections. Khan had extensively campaigned against Jayaprada for ensuring her defeat from the Rampur Lok Sabha during the 2009 parliament elections, calling her a “dancer, nautch girl” of Bollywood, who had neither any stake nor commitment for politics.

Yet, calling Azam Khan her ‘rakhi brother’, Jayaprada, the two-term MP from Rampur has now chosen to express her support for Khan. “Azam Khan is my elder brother and as a sister I am solidly behind him. He is my ‘rakhi’ brother and I will protect the honour of the sacred thread. I will always support Khan and condemn the behaviour of Samajwadi Party towards him,’’ she said.

Azam Khan’s absence from the recent national executive meet of the party at Agra and his criticism of the government in handling of the Muzafarnagar riots has not gone down well with the Samajwadi Party. Recalling her days in Samajwadi Party, Jayaprada said, “I can understand the agony of Azam Khan, I too was subject to similar treatment by the party’’. Criticising the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jayaprada said, “For his political benefit, Mulayam Singh Yadav can do anything and go to any extent. In 2009, he had even joined hands with the main accused in the demolition of the Babri mosque, Kalyan Singh, for his political ends.’’ She added that it had been the practice in the Samajwadi Party to “make or mar the political career of any leader” for the sake of the whims and fancies of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Rampur is the native town of Azam Khan and he is the SP MLA from the Rampur assembly seat. Jayaprada was first nominated as the Samajwadi Party candidate from the Rampur Lok Sabha seat in the 2004 parliament elections. She won that and again contested from Rampur in 2009. She had fallen out with Azam Khan as he regarded her as a lackey of his bête noire Amar Singh, the then high profile general secretary of the Samajwadi Party. Although Azam Khan pleaded with the party against giving a ticket to Jayaprada from Rampur, the party refused to oblige him and the will of Amar Singh prevailed. Mulayam Singh also campaigned in Rampur and addressed a couple of public meetings for the victory of Jayaprada.

This had led to Khan’s rebellion against the party. He extensively campaigned against Jayaprada during the 2009 parliament elections, but despite his herculean efforts, she won the election. Jayaprada even won from the Rampur assembly segment falling within the Rampur parliament seat.

In May 2009, the Samajwadi Party expelled Azam Khan from the party for rebelling against the party and campaigning against Jayaprada, the official party candidate for the 2009 parliament elections.

However, typifying the confounding changes in UP’s political landscape, the expulsion of Azam Khan was revoked by the party in 2011 while Jayaprada along with the then high profile general secretary of the party Amar Singh, were expelled from the party in January 2010.

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Special Correspondent (Lucknow)

Virendra Nath Bhatt is a post graduate in Economics. Started career as journalist in 1982, by contributing for a couple of Hindi dailies of Lucknow and Bareilly and also Jansatta of Delhi. Joined the English daily `The Pioneer in 1990 and later shifted to National Herald. After one year joined as correspondent for the Onlooker Magazine published from Bombay in 1991. In 1995 again joined The Pioneer in 1995 and worked till 2007. In December joined Indian Express Luck now. In September 2011 joined Tehelka. Bhatt has extensively covered parliament and assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1985 and also the Ramjanma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya and the movement for social justice – the social strife against the implementation of the Mandal commission report in August 1990.

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