UP minister says Sonia supports Nagpal for 'political gain'

Lucknow, Aug 10 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan Friday slammed the Congress for "meddling with the functioning of a state government" and said Congress president Sonia Gandhi was "interfering for political gains".

Leading a full blown attack on the Congress even as the two parties have been sparring over the suspension of a young civil servant for allegedly breaking down the wall of an under-construction mosque, Khan said: "The support of Sonia to Durga was purely based on political calculations".

Talking to reporters in his constituency Rampur, Khan said Friday that the letter written by the Congress president to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking that a "fair chance" be given to suspended sub-divisional magistrate of Sadar, Gautam Budh Nagar, Durga Shakti Nagpal, was an attack on the federal structure of the country.

"I am very sad to note that the Congress president stoops so low, that she now writes letters on junior officials like an SDM," the minister said.

Azam Khan also taunted the Congress over its secular credentials, charging that "half the Congress leaders have Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) backgrounds."

Slamming the foreign policy of the Congress, the senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader said it was a matter of great concern that under the UPA regime, the country was not friends with any of its neighbours.

Political circles in the state were abuzz Saturday with the all-out attack on the Congress by Azam Khan, considered very close to party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"Our party president is a sensitive person and does not see politics in matters like the suspension of Nagpal. Everyone knows who all are involved in vote bank politics all the time," Rita Bahuguna Joshi, former UP Congress Committee president said.

Congress leaders maintained, in the face of the attack, that they required no certificate from leaders of the Samajwadi Party.

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