Rampur, May 9 (IANS) After maintaining studied silence on the Amar Singh-Azam Khan spat that brought the bitter infighting within the Samajwadi Party (SP) to the fore, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Saturday said 'Khan was weakening the roots of our party'.
At an rally here, the SP chief trained his guns at his one-time closest lieutenant Khan for Friday declaring war against Amar Singh, the party general secretary and Mulayam's Man Friday.
'Azam Khan was weakening the roots of our party and what he has been doing clearly falls in the caregory of anti-party activity,' Mulayam Singh told the rally at Swar town, about 30 km from the Rampur district headquarters.
Mulayam Singh's open attack on Khan made it amply evident that he had eventually made up his choice between his two close lieutenants. He also made no secret of his decision to side with Amar Singh, who Friday issued yet another veiled threat to quit the party if Khan was allowed to go scot free.
Speaking about the candidature of film actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada, which is at the root of the virtual street fight betwen Khan and Amar Singh, the SP chief said: 'What Azam Khan seems to overlook is the fact that Jaya Prada had been awarded the party ticket by me, and that too, after Azam Khan himself recommended her name.'
'I wonder if some kind of jealousy was at the root of the ongoing trouble because the fact remains that Azam Khan was earlier all for Jaya, for whom he had campaigned aggressively during the last elections, when she won from here.'
Much of Mulayam Singh's 40-minute address was devoted to the bitter Amar-Azam feud.
'I never speak so long at any election rally but because I need to apprise people of many facts, I was compelled to make such a long speech,' he said.
Amar Singh, however, kept himself away from Rampur on a day when Mulayam Singh campaigned here.
However, Jaya Prada went about harping on the beaten track - highlighting how pained she was on account of Khan's tirade against her.
'I have always regarded him as an elder brother,' she maintained, adding: 'I am really agonised to find that the hand to which I gave my bouquet was throwing brickbats at me.'
Mulayam Singh's open tirade against Khan gave rise to speculation that Khan may exit the SP to join the Congress.
The proximity between Khan and the Congress became visible for the first time when Congress nominee Begum Noor Bano, with whom Khan could not see eye to eye until not very long ago, called on the latter's hospitalised supporters, who were allegedly beaten up by Amar Singh's men in a recent clash.
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