Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Khan have tested positive for Covid-19. While 30-year-old Abdullah Khan’s condition is said to be stable and satisfactory, Azam Khan’s fate hangs in the balance at Lucknow’s Medanta Hospital. On Monday, Azam Khan was shifted to the hospital’s Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU), as his supplemental oxygen need shot up to 10 litres per minute. Khan has developed pneumonia, which has severely complicated his condition. “He in under intense treatment of the doctors there,” the hospital said on Monday.
Azam Khan is the Samajwadi Party’s tallest Muslim leader. Needless to say, SP depends almost entirely on him to hold on to their Muslim voter base. Yet, maintaining an indifference towards the health of Azam Khan, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav seems to be continuing with a stoic social media silence. Akhilesh Yadav has not even tweeted regarding the SP leader’s health, and neither has he wished Khan good health and a quick recovery yet. The silence has raised many eyebrows.
According to a report by Zee News however, Akhilesh Yadav is said to be keeping a close tab on Azam Khan’s health, and has ‘assigned’ the best team of doctors to treat the SP leader. The 72-year-old leader and his son Abdullah Khan were confirmed Covid-19 positive on April 30 and they were admitted to the hospital from the Sitapur jail on Sunday, May 9. Khan, his wife and son were lodged in jail in February last year under a variety of cases.
Akhilesh Yadav ensuring the best medical aid for Azam Khan and in fact wishing him good health openly are two separate matters. Azam Khan not being wished a quick recovery by Akhilesh Yadav on social media will be perceived by Muslims who rally behind Khan as a betrayal of the man by his party. They will not for a moment hesitate to withdraw support from a party which does not care about their leader. Why should they support the Samajwadi Party when they see no visible concern being displayed by the party’s leaders for Khan?
The SP is in for a big ride – especially among its Muslim voters who are supportive of the party only for the sake of Azam Khan. With elections in Uttar Pradesh due in less than a year, the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav has taken a huge gamble by remaining behind the curtains when it comes to health of Azam Khan – something which the state’s Muslims will not like.