Ramgopal hits back, tells Azam to resign before sulking

AzamKhan has publicly criticised his own government and the local administration in Muzaffarnagar. (IE Photo)

Differences in the Samajwadi Party that showed up in the aftermath of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar seemed to deepen Thursday with its national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav demanding the resignation of the party's Muslim face, Azam Khan, for skipping the national executive meeting.

Related: Trouble brewing in SP over Muzaffarnagar riots, Azam Khan skips party meet in Agra

Ramgopal's surprise position came even as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the state government was blinded by a lack of correct information from Muzaffarnagar. "If we were aware of the situation, such a thing would never have happened," Akhilesh told the party forum.

Related: SP Minister Azam Khan blames local administration, Akhilesh govt

Khan has publicly criticised his own government and the local administration in Muzaffarnagar for the violence and stayed away from the national executive meeting that began Wednesday without giving any reason. His office has said he is unwell and Ramgopal had on Wednesday said his absence was not a serious issue.

Related: Muzaffarnagar riots cause rift in SP, leaders urge Mulayam to act against Azam Khan

However, Ramgopal did a turnaround Thursday and came down strongly on Khan.

Related:In gesture of pacification, Mulayam says Azam Khan can never be upset with him

"No one can enhance his stature through such activity. There is no impact on the party," Ramgopal said. "If one does not want to hold a post in the party, then he should resign. Otherwise he should have come. All main leaders of the party were present during the meeting and no one noticed his absence."

Although SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sought to convey that Khan could never get upset with him, party sources said he had consented to Ramgopal attacking Khan, who has also been staying away from cabinet meetings and official events.

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