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The Hindu
The Hindu
Omar Rashid

U.P. Assembly elections | Jailed Azam Khan, son to contest from Rampur and Suar seats

Samajwadi party MP Azam Khan was booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police on several charges including encroachment of land in what the party alleged was vendetta. File (Source: The Hindu)

Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur Lok Sabha MP Mohammad Azam Khan, who is lodged in jail, will contest the 2022 Assembly election from Rampur Sadar seat. His son Abdullah Khan, who was recently released from jail, will contest from Suar in the same district in the Rohilkhand region.

Mr. Abdullah had won from Suar in 2017 but in 2019 the Allahabad High Court declared his election null and void on grounds that he was not of valid age 25 when he filed his nomination.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has fielded Haider Ali Khan, of the erstwhile Rampur Nawab royalty, in Suar. In 2017, Mr. Abdullah had defeated Mr. Haider’s father and sitting MLA Kazim Ali Khan. This time Mr. Kazim will contest from Rampur Sadar on a Congress ticket and take on Mr. Azam Khan, his long-time rival who was booked by the State police on several charges including encroachment of land in what the SP alleged was vendetta.

The SP on Monday released a consolidated list of 159 candidates across the State, including several fresh names. Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting from Karhal in Mainpuri, was on the top of the list while his uncle Shivpal Yadav, who had formed his own party Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), will contest on the “cycle” symbol from his traditional seat Jaswant Nagar.

The SP has fielded some heavyweight OBC and Dalit candidates, including Rajya Sabha MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad from Ayahshah in Fatehpur, former BSP Minister Daddu Prasad from Naraini in Banda, former BSP MLA Yogesh Verma from Hastinapur in Meerut and former BSP State president R.S Kushwaha from Nighasan in Lakhimpur Kheri. The site of the Tikonia incident in which eight persons including four farmers were killed in October, 2021 after a convoy of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s ran over protesting farmers falls under Nighasan.

Mr. Nishad is one of SP’s tallest Nishad face while Mr. Prasad and Mr. Verma are Jatav Dalits of considerable influence in west UP and Bundelkhand, respectively.

The SP list also has around 30 Muslim names, including six in Moradabad district alone. Nahid Hasan, the sitting MLA in Kairana, Shamli, who was recently arrested under the Gangster Act, is fielded again.

The SP has also given ticket to BJP rebels who switched ranks recently following Swami Prasad Maurya. While Bilhaur sitting MLA Bhagwati Sagar, a Dalit, will now contest from Ghatampur in Kanpur, Brajesh Prajapati will defend Tindwari in Banda again and Tilhar (Shahjahanpur) MLA Roshan Lal Verma will contest from the same seat again. Pandit Radha Krishan Sharma, who had won from Bilsi in Budaun on a BJP symbol in 2017, will now contest on an SP symbol from Aonla in Bareilly. Former Bareilly Mayor Supriya Aron, who quit the Congress and joined the SP along with her husband former MP Praveen Singh Aron, is the SP’s candidate from Bareilly Cantonment.

Meanwhile, MLAs continued to change parties as voting day gets near. WhileJitendra Verma (a Nishad), BJP MLA from Agra joined the SP, Subash Rai (a Bhumihar), SP MLA from Ambedkar Nagar who won in a by-poll in 2019, switched over to the BJP.

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