Saleem Shervani quits as SP national general secretary, alleges neglect of Muslims in party

The five-time former MP accused the opposition parties of being interested in fighting each other rather than the ruling BJP

Updated - February 18, 2024 09:44 pm IST

Published - February 18, 2024 08:53 pm IST - Lucknow:

Former MP Saleem Sherwani.

Former MP Saleem Sherwani. | Photo Credit: ANI

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and five-time former MP, Saleem Sherwani, on Sunday resigned from the post of party’s national general secretary, alleging neglect of the Muslims in the party, adding the community is steadily losing faith in the SP.

“I have repeatedly requested a Rajya Sabha seat for the Muslim community, according to the party’s tradition. Although my name was not considered, there was not a single Muslim among the candidates declared by the party. In the manner you distributed tickets for the Rajya Sabha polls shows that you yourself do not give importance to the PDA [Pichda, Dalit and Alpsankhyak]. This raises the question of how you are different from the BJP,” said Mr. Sherwani, who represented the Badaun Lok Sabha seat five times and also served as a Union Minister, in the letter addressed to SP president Akhilesh Yadav.

Pichda, Dalit and Alpsankhyak, means backwards, Dalits and minority a term coined by the SP chief aimed at creating a broader social plank for electoral dividends. 

‘Growing distance’

Mr. Sherwani alleged that Muslims are feeling that no one is willing to address their legitimate concerns. “I have frequently discussed the situation of Muslim community with you and tried to convey that the community is feeling neglected along with losing their faith in the party. There is a growing distance between them and the party, and they are in search of a ‘true’ leader. The party should not take their support for granted. Sentiment among Muslims is increasing that no one in the secular alliance is willing to address their legitimate concerns,” reads the letter. 

Mr. Sherwani further accused the opposition parties of being interested in fighting each other rather than the ruling BJP. “Endeavour to form a strong opposition alliance is proving to be futile. It appears that the Opposition is more interested in fighting among each other rather than fighting the wrong policies of the ruling party. In India, primarily in Uttar Pradesh, Muslims have never demanded anything beyond their rights to live with equality, dignity, and security. However, this demand also seems significant to the party. The party has no response to our demand,” said the former five-time MP in the letter. He announced his resignation as the National General Secretary and in the coming few weeks will take a decision on his political future. 

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