The week-long impasse in the Samajwadi Party ended on Thursday when the party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh succumbed to the dictats of the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, and accepted all his demands. Even if it meant alienating his close party colleague Mohammad Azam Khan.
The ‘breakthrough' was achieved after a 40-minute-long meeting with the Shahi Imam at Mr. Singh's Vikramaditya Marg residence here. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was also present at the meeting.
The crisis in the party had been triggered by the Maulana's missive to Mr. Singh last Friday demanding more representations for the Muslims. The Maulana had also rejected his son-in-law's candidature for the Vidhan Parishad polls.
Following the Mulayam-Bukhari ‘truce', the Samajwadi Party chief and his son agreed to raise the strength of the Muslim Cabinet Ministers in the Government from three to five and also accepted the demand of giving adequate representation to the Muslims in the district administration by appointing District Magistrates and SPs and SSPs from amongst the minority community.
On the contentious issue of nominating more than one Muslim in the forthcoming Vidhan Parishad polls, it was agreed that while the Shahi Imam's son-in-law Umar Ali Khan will be one of the candidates, the SP candidate for the by-election to the lone Parishad seat necessitated by the resignation of former Chief Minister Mayawati, will also be from the minority community.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister who briefed journalists outside the SP president's residence on the outcome of the meeting, said Mr.Umar Ali Khan will file his nomination for the Legislative Council polls on Friday. On the name of the party candidate for the by-poll, Mr. Yadav said announcement would be made soon. Mr. Yadav said the number of Muslim Ministers will be increased in the next Cabinet expansion. He added that a decision would be taken to ensure that the minority community was duly represented in the administration.
Maulana Bukhari said he met Mr Mulayam Singh and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister to draw their attention to the poor representation of the Muslims in the Cabinet and in the nominations for the Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad elections.
He said following the meeting, Mr. Singh agreed that the number of Muslim Ministers in the Cabinet would be raised from the present three to five and the representation of the minority community in the administration as DMs and SPs would be increased. “Announcement will be made by Mr. Akhilesh Yadav”, the Maulana added. He said for now he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
Talking to journalists at the VVIP Guest House , the Shahi Imam declared that if injustice will be done to Muslims “Ahmed Bukhari will not remain silent and if they are denied their ‘haq' ( rights ) it will be taken by force ( ‘haq chheen lenge' )”.
The Maulana said the Muslims voted the Samajwadi Party to power for “ insaaf” ( justice ), “haq” ( rights ) and “hissedari” ( participation ), but it erred on the first stage when only three Muslims were inducted in the Cabinet. Hinting towards the Muslim support for the SP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Maulana said Mr. Singh was reminded that the road to Delhi goes through Uttar Pradesh.
He refused to comment on Mr. Azam Khan and only said that power alone does not raises the stature of a person.
Mr. Khan made his displeasure known to the government and the Samajwadi Party leadership for not supporting him on the Bukhari issue when he took oath as an MLA in the Vidhan Sabha Speaker's chamber, instead of in the House. In the House agenda for Thursday, Mr. Khan was at number one slot of the 67 remaining MLAs, who had not taken oath on Wednesday.
The oath to Mr. Khan was administered by senior MLA Pramod Tiwari. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister took his oath in Urdu and since Hindi is the language of the House he followed it up with oath in Hindi as well.