Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav has said that senior party leader Mohd. Azam Khan was paying the price of opposing communal forces.
Reacting to the disqualification of Azam Khan from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, following his conviction in a hate speech case, Akhilesh added that the recent development was an example of revenge politics.
"Azam Khan has worked to ensure quality education for youth in Rampur and adjoining districts. His Jauhar University has been constantly targeted by the BJP since it came to power. As Minister, Azam Khan successfully organised the Kumbh Mela and the event subsequently became a subject for Harvard University study wherein his efforts were lauded. The Harvard University had even invited Azam Khan to give a presentation on it This has not gone down well with the BJP," the SP Chief said in a statement.
Akhilesh said Azam's role in setting up a top-class institute for higher education -- Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University -- for youth of Rampur and adjoining region also worried the BJP, which is only interested in disrupting the education system in the state.
He accused the BJP of misusing government tools to demolish Jauhar university.
"BJP is determined to destroy the educational institute and hence, heaped false cases on Azam Khan. It has hatched a conspiracy against Azam Khan to find a way out to duck his pointed fact-based questions that would have exposed the saffron party over the prevailing disruption in the education system, Akhilesh said.
"Azam Khan has been bearing the brunt for strongly opposing and challenging communal forces inside the Assembly and Parliament and outside as well to secure the secular credentials of Indian Constitution. The BJP, it seems, has gone into an overdrive to target him in every possible way," he added.
He said, "It is Azam Khan's unflinching commitment towards a democratic, socialist and secular set-up that the BJP has taken exception to."
The SP Chief said BJP must remember that there is no space for vendetta in politics as both the government and the Opposition have a common goal of ensuring good governance.
"Azam Khan has been a 10-time MLA, three-time MP and has served the Uttar Pradesh government as Minister during different regimes and efforts to sideline him in politics will only expose the BJP," Akhilesh added.