SP leaders spar over Advani, Sanjay Dutt

Azam Khan takes on Mulayam for his remarks

Sharp differences have cropped up within the Samajwadi Party (SP) over BJP leader L K Advani being the “tallest leader in the country”  and his call for granting pardon to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

Senior SP leader and UP minister for urban development Azam Khan has again virtually criticised party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for heaping praise on Advani though in a subtle way .

“Advani is guilty of demolishing Babri Masjid...he is a leader of weak character,” Khan said.

His remarks ran diametrically opposite to those of Mulayam who had dubbed Advani the “tallest leader in the country” a few days back. “Advani is the tallest leader in the country....he never tells lies,” Mulayam had said and added that the saffron party leader wanted the SP government to “stay and do well” in the state.

Similarly, Khan also opposed the demand for granting pardon to Dutt. “Sanjay Dutt is the son of a great actor...his parents have served the nation but we must keep in mind that Sanjay has been held guilty by the Supreme Court. Granting him pardon will amount to showing disrespect to the apex court’s order,” Khan said.

“Those who are clamouring for granting pardon to Sanjay Dutt may tomorrow say that the same thing should have done in the case of Afzal Guru,” Khan added.

SP general secretary Naresh Agarwal and film actor and SP Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan had advocated for granting pardon to Dutt. The actor had actively participated in the election campaign in UP for the SP in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The then Mayawati regime had also slapped several cases on the actor for his ‘jadu ki jhappi’ (magical hug) remark as it felt that they were aimed at Mayawati.

After the expulsion of Amar Singh and Jaya Prada from SP, the actor too distanced himself from the party. 

Azam Khan was also expelled after he publicly criticised Mulayam for joining hands with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh in 2009 Lok Sabha elections. He was later re-inducted in to the party.

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