Agra: Downplaying the rift within Samajwadi Party over how the Muzaffarnagar riots were handled, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said Azam Khan could never be upset with him and whatever issues there are must be with the state government. This after senior party leaders Ramgopal Yadav as well as Naresh Agarwal had openly asked for disciplinary action against Azam Khan.
"Azam Khan is not upset with Mulayam Singh. We are a democratic party and everyone who is a part of it has the right to voice their opinions," Mulayam said.
Asserting that strict action will be taking against the accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Mulayam said, "Justice was not given in Gujarat but in UP justice will be done. This is not a matter of doing politics; there is a need to give them assistance. I have never done politics on religious lines. Strict action will be taken against the accused."
Senior party leaders irked with Azam Khan's decision to skip the national executive meet, wanted disciplinary action against him. "Mulayam should take action against Azam Khan. We agree that nobody is bigger than the party. If we give change to one MP, others will also expect such leniency in future," SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said on Thursday. The national executive of Samajwadi Party met in Agra on Wednesday but Khan gave it a miss as he is reportedly unhappy with how the state government handled the riots.
Hitting out at Azam Khan another senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav said, "The party is unaffected by Azam Khan's no show. If the person is not willing to abide by the duties of his post, he might as well resign."
Azam Khan had on Wednesday skipped the party's national executive meet to lodge his protest over the killing of Muslims in Muzaffarnagar riots. Azam Khan also criticised the state government for its alleged faulty handling of situation in Muzaffarnagar.
The death toll in the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining towns has increased to 48. Amidst tension and a polarised environment, demands for the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to step down are growing louder.
Taking a dig at SP over the riots, RLD chief Ajit Singh said, "The UP government tried to polarise its people. They did not control the riots, in fact they promoted it. Mulayam is trying to be the Modi of Uttar Pradesh."
However, the Samajwadi Party has ruled out Akhilesh's resignation over the issue even as the Congress and Muslim groups have blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for mishandling the situation.
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, "It is the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order in the region. They must act and ensure that normalcy is restored."
Blaming the SP government for the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, senior party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "The prime reason for riots have been the SP's incapability, their attitude and their greed for votes."
Meanwhile, even as the curfew has been relaxed in parts of Muzaffarnagar, the Supreme Court will on Thursday hear a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the matter.
The petitioners approached the court asking it to direct the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments to investigate the reason behind the clashes. A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi has agreed to give an urgent hearing to the PIL which sought to ensure safe passage of people stuck in the clashes and follow it up with their rehabilitation.