New Delhi: Veteran Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan was on Thursday awarded three-year jail term by a Rampur court.
Earlier in the day, the court convicted him in a case, related to hate speech during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The court delivered highest possible punishment of three-years imprisonment under the offence. This means that the SP leader is bound to lose his Assembly membership. The EC rule mandates that if an elected public representative is given imprisonment of more than 2 years, he or she will have to quit as MP or MLA.
Azam’s lawyers are likely to move court seeking bail against the court order and may also appeal against the order in Higher Court.
The court order comes as a major blow to the Samajwadi Party as Azam Khan remains its biggest Muslim face and someone who commands strong voter base, particularly in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Though, ties between SP chief Akhilesh & Azam Khan have lately remained frosty & unfriendly, this indeed comes as a big setback for the party.
The SP leader made controversial & provocative statements while campaigning for the party during 2019 Parliamentary elections. His alleged hatemongering, aimed at gravitating & mobilizing support from certain faction prompted the BJP to lodge case against him.
Azam Khan came out of prison earlier this year after being granted bail by the Supreme Court. He faces almost 90 cases pertaining mostly to corruption and theft.