‘Only thing left is for someone to shoot me in the head’: Azam Khan steps out for civic polls

“The only thing left is that someone comes and shoots me in the head.” Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan said in Rampur late Friday evening, while campaigning for party candidates for the coming urban local body elections.

“What else do you want from me, my son, my family, my wife?… Do you want someone to come and shoot me in the head? That is all that is left,” Khan, who was disqualified as an MLA after conviction over hate speech, and served two years in jail before getting bail in a land-grabbing case, said.

His son Abdullah Azam was later disqualified from his Suar Assembly seat, after conviction over an episode of blocking traffic. The bypoll for this seat will be held on May 10.

Khan clearly was drawing a parallel with Atiq Ahmed, the gangster-turned-politician who was shot dead along with his brother while police accompanied them recently. Days earlier, Ahmed had told the media that he and his family had been “reduced to dust”, with “nothing left”.

Khan, a once-powerful SP leader and one of late Mulayam Singh Yadav’s closest confidants, is known for his emotional speeches. And Friday’s was one such, as he campaigned for SP Nagar Palika Chairman candidate Fatima Jabeen and others in his bastion of Rampur.

“You should save India, you should save the law of the land,” he told the crowd. “You don’t need to give yourself anything, except encouragement. Where you are stopped, you should sit (in protest). You must move ahead, and not stop.”

He also urged people to get out and vote. “It was snatched from you twice, but now if it is taken away, you may not have the right to breathe too.”

Khan was referring to the SP’s defeats in the bypolls for Rampur parliamentary seat and Rampur Assembly constituency. While the bypoll for the Lok Sabha seat was won by the BJP’s Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi in June last year, the Assembly seat was won by Akash Saxena in December last year.

Khan said the defeat of the SP candidates, including to the BJP’s Saxena – the litigant against Khan in many of the cases against him — would not have been possible without police and administration high-handedness. “You say you will undertake development. You can’t even write development as your ink has dried… If you were real men, you would allow an election. Was that an election?… I challenge that from among the 150 crore people in India, someone should come to Rampur, and fight elections against (the people of) Rampur. And if Rampur wins, you should vacate Rampur,” Khan said, adding that such was the importance of Rampur that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not ignore it.

Accusing the authorities of “atrocities” in Rampur, he said CAA-NRC protesters were also beaten up here. Telling the people to bide their time, the SP leader added: “Nowhere has Allah said that he is with the namazis, or those who fast or those who are Hajis. But there is one promise by Allah — that He is with those who have patience.”

Khan urged people not to take the elections lightly, because these were for urban local bodies. “This department used to be called Local Self Government. It is a government in itself.”

The Khan family has been struggling to stay relevant in politics, cornered by the BJP government’s drive against their hold on Rampur, and also SP president Akhilesh Yadav’s on-off relationship with Khan.

Much depends, hence, on the bypoll for Suar. While the SP has fielded first-timer Anuradha Chauhan, BJP ally Apna Dal (S) has put up Shafiq Ahmed Ansari, who belongs to the Pasmanda Muslim community that the BJP is wooing.

In his Friday speech, Azam made constant references to the Suar battle, and how it was the second time Abdullah had been targeted with disqualification as MLA. Abdullah had earlier lost his Assembly membership in 2020, for being underage when he fought the election.


  • Adam Gray

    Adam Gray is an experienced journalist with a passion for breaking news and delivering it to the masses. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has covered everything from local stories to national events, earning a reputation for his accuracy, reliability, and attention to detail. As a reporter, Adam is always on the lookout for the next big story, and his dedication to uncovering the truth has earned him the respect of his peers and readers alike. When he's not chasing down leads, Adam can be found poring over the latest headlines, always on the lookout for the next big scoop. Contact [email protected]

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