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Abu Azmi hails Sachin for 'Indian first' remark

By Sharat Pradhan
November 16, 2009 21:05 IST
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Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Azmi, who shot into limelight for defying Maharastra Navnirman Sena supremo Raj Thakeray's diktat on taking oath in state assembly only in Marathi, was all praises for master blaster Sachin Tendulkar for
declaring that he was an Indian first and then a Marathi.

Azmi was speaking to mediapersons at the Lucknow airport on his arrival from Mumbai on Monday evening."I  admire Sachin Tendulkar to have not got cowed down by the Shiv Sena's intimidation tactics and having proudly declared that he was an Indian first", said Azmi. "Sachin's  remark must make the Sena understand that after all, Maharastra was like any other state--a part of the Indian nation", he added.

Azmi is in Lucknow to be felicitated by the Samajwadi Party at a special function on Tuesday for taking his oath in the Maharastra state assembly in the national language, Hindi–for which he had to face wrath of MNS members, who assaulted him on the floor of the house last week.

He also hailed SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for dumping former Bhartiya Janata Party leader and UP CM Kalyan Singh , who as an active SP ally for 11 months.

Asked to comment on the parting of ways between Mulayam and Kalyan, he said, "I welcome my party president's decision to distance himself with the man who was responsible for demolition of the Babri Masjid. I  wonder what had led him to shake hands with Kalyan Singh, but thankfully realization dawned on my Netaji ,who finally decided to part ways with that man."

Azmi was confident that the move would go a long way in bringing Muslims back into the SP's fold. "I am sure, that Muslims who had chosen to distance themselves from SP because of this reason, would once again return to stand by Mulayam, whose contribution to the cause of minorities was unmatched," Azmi pointed out.
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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow