Rampur (UP): A day after the EC barred senior SP leader Azam Khan from poll campaigning over his derogatory remarks against BJP leader Jaya Prada, his son Abdullah Tuesday alleged that his father was targeted as he is a Muslim. “No action was taken when the BJP candidate (Jaya Prada) stated on Twitter that she is coming to Rampur (Khan’s constituency) to bring an end to the regime of a demon,” Abdullah told news persons here.
“But in (Khan’s) speech, there has been no mention of a name or gender, Azam Khan has been banned only because he is a Muslim,” he added. Senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was slapped Monday with a poll campaign ban, an FIR and a women commission notice for his alleged “khaki underwear” jibe at Jaya Prada.
Jaya Prada, who was earlier with the SP and has now been pitted by the BJP against Khan from Rampur Lok Sabha seat, demanded his immediate disqualification from contesting polls. However, Abdullah termed the gag order as an attempt by the EC to please the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the poll panel banned Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning.
“As Yogi was also banned, it was required to ban Azam Khan so that it does not seem that action is being taken only against the BJP and make them angry… it was done to please the BJP,” Abdullah alleged. The EC had imposed a nation-wide ban on Adityanath for 72 hours, starting from 6 am Tuesday, for his “provocative” communal remarks.
Stressing that the SP leader was not allowed to present his view point, he said, “No notice was served… natural justice was denied… he was banned just like that.” Jaya Prada had represented Rampur twice in Lok Sabha after winning in 2004 and 2009 as a Samajwadi Party leader. Later she was expelled from the party, along with Amar Singh, following differences with Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Last month she joined BJP and has been nominated as the saffron party’s candidate against Khan from Rampur, which goes to polls on April 23. Khan and some other SP leaders sought to suggest that Khan’s comments were targeted at Singh, who is considered her mentor in UP politics.