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Azam and son, Shivpal skip key SP meeting

The Times of India logo The Times of India 22-05-2022 Pervez Siddiqui
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LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party founder member Azam Khan and his MLA son Abdullah stayed away from the SP legislature party meeting on Sunday. SP MLA from Jaswantnagar Shivpal Yadav was also not present at the meeting convened by party president Akhilesh Yadav at the SP headquarters here to decide the party’s strategy for the budget session of the UP Assembly slated to start on Monday.

Absence of Azam and Abdullah from the meeting left the political circles abuzz with speculations over what kept the duo away from the key event. The development gains significance in the light of April 11 statements from the Azam camp targeting the party leadership in general and SP chief Akhilesh in particular for “not doing enough” to secure the release of Azam. In jail since February 2020, Azam had walked out of prison on Friday last following his bail from the Supreme Court. SP leaders, however, dismissed all reports of Azam being miffed with the party or the leadership as “baseless”.

SP MLA Ravidas Mehrotra said Azam is recuperating at his Rampur residence as he has been unwell and was likely to attend the assembly session starting Monday. In Rampur, Azam told reporters that he is “looking forward to attending the budget session provided my health permits me to”. Sources said both Azam and Abdullah may reach Lucknow on Monday morning for the budget session.

Asked about the possible reason behind Shivpal not attending the legislature party meeting, Ravidas said: “He is the national president of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia.” He refused to confirm if Shivpal was invited to the meeting.

Sources in SP said the party had invited only MLAs who were members of SP and not associated with any other political outfit. Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal (Kamerawadi), who won from Sirathu seat on SP ticket, was also not a part of the meeting, said a senior SP functionary.

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