Demanding immediate restoration of the Assembly membership of former MLA Azam Khan in the wake of his acquittal in a hate speech case, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said the judiciary should investigate the involvement of authorities in the “false case”. He also sought punishment against “corrupt officers who have become a puppet in the hands of the BJP government”.
This is the first public statement by the SP chief after Mr. Khan, the party’s leading Muslim face and a 10-time MLA, was acquitted by the Rampur Additional District and Sessions Court on Wednesday in a 2019 hate speech case, overturning the October 2022 verdict by a special MP/MLA court sentencing him to three years in jail. After his conviction, his Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha membership ceased to exist, leading to a bypoll in the Rampur Sadar seat, which was won by the saffron party’s Akash Saxena.
“The truth behind false cases has started coming out. The corrupt officers who have become a puppet of the government and got false cases registered by putting pressure on the public should be punished immediately. On this basis, Mr. Azam Khan sahab’s membership of the Legislative Assembly should also be restored immediately. The court should investigate the involvement of the authorities,” wrote Mr. Yadav, on Twitter.
Mr. Yadav also targeted the BJP government over the inauguration of the new Parliament building. Responding to the Centre’s decision to install a sengol (sceptre)in the building, he said: “Sengol is a symbol of transfer of power … the BJP seems to have accepted that the time has come to hand over power.”
Earlier this week, the SP president announced the party’s decision to boycott the inauguration of the Parliament building on May 28, alleging the ruling BJP failed to understand the basic spirit of the ‘shlokas’ written there.
“The true parliamentary tradition is to give equal opportunity to everyone to hear and understand, not by the ostentatious inauguration of the Parliament like by the BJP, but by understanding the basic spirit of the ‘shlokas’ written there. Where there is pride of power but no respect for the Opposition, it cannot be a true Parliament, why to go to such an inauguration,” said Mr. Yadav.