Akhilesh meets sulking Azam Khan

Lucknow, Sep 13 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Friday called on Urban Development Minister Azam Khan, who came under attack from colleagues for skipping a Samajwadi Party meet in Agra.

The widening gap between other Samajwadi leaders and Azam Khan, the party's best known minority face, forced party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to intervene.

It was at Mulayam Singh's behest that Akhilesh Yadav met the sulking minister at the latter's residence, said informed sources.

Before skipping the Agra meet, Azam Khan had expressed unhappines over the administrative failure to check the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar that claimed over 40 lives.

A few months back too, Azam Khan had retreated from political activity and the chief minister walked to his home to cajole him.

The sources said Azam Khan was miffed at the all-out attack by senior party leaders Naresh Agarawal, Abu Azmi and Ram Gopal Yadav who went to the extent of telling him to quit the government if he wished to.

The number two in the state cabinet, Azam Khan quit the Samajwadi Party briefly two years back over differences with then party general secretary Amar Singh.

Returning to the fold after Amar Singh and Jaya Prada were expelled, he however had reservations about Akhilesh Yadav being named chief minister superseding senior colleagues.

He has since shared an uneasy relationship with the party and has embarrassed it with his statements and by keeping away from key functions and cabinet meetings.

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