UP Bypoll Result: Rampur Bastion Stays in Azam Khan Family as Wife Tazeen Fatima Wins Seat
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which contested from the seat for the first time had fielded former customs officer Zuber Masood Khan, while the Congress candidate was Arshad Ali Khan.
File photo of Tazeen Fatima
Lucknow: The Rampur seat of Uttar Pradesh assembly that has been represented a nine times by senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has once again shown faith in the old guard as his wife and Rajya Sabha member Tazeen Fatima has registered a win with margin of 7,716 votes. The seat was vacated as Azam Khan was elected to Lok Sabha in May.
Implicated in over 80 cases, including 28 of land grabbing, theft, dacoity, among other charges, Azam Khan, had addressed several public gatherings in favour of his wife, and also in the past broke down on the stage multiple times while asking for votes.
He also continuously accused the state government of political vendetta in the cases lodged against him. The Congress and BSP gave a ticket to Muslim candidates, giving rise to speculation that it may divide votes, but Fatima comfortably won the seat as she led throughout the day.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which contested from the seat for the first time had fielded former customs officer Zuber Masood Khan, while the Congress candidate was Arshad Ali Khan. Khan had left the grand-old party in 2012 and joined the Samajwadi Party, but returned to the Congress fold in 2017.
The Rampur assembly seat has been with Azam Khan since 1980, except once in 1996, when it was won by a Congress candidate. Fatima was the best bet for SP as her Rajya Sabha term was coming to an end in November 2020. She was elected to Upper House in 2014. Khan’s son Abdullah Azam is also MLA from Suar assembly seat.
The Rampur seat has more than 52% Muslim and 17% Dalit voters.
The main reason cited for the BJP’s defeat is the selection of a “weak candidate” in form of Bharat Bhushan Gupta. Speaking to News18 on candidate selection, veteran journalist and political observer Ratan Mani Lal said, “Due to strictness of administration Azam Khan is facing many cases and also he was out of Rampur for quite some time, but still candidate selection could have been key for the BJP. The main reason behind this in my opinion is selection of a weak candidate. BJP's Gupta had contested on a BSP ticket in 2012 assembly seat, managing merely 16570 votes. During the last panchayat elections, Gupta managed to get just 1623 votes.”
Earlier, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had also come out with his support to Azam Khan and had alleged that he was being unnecessarily targeted by the administration and blamed BJP government. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also called for a state-wide stir against the government's treatment of Khan.
Yadav had also trained guns at the BJP directly and said, “I would not to like name anyone but few BJP leaders have acknowledged that whatever happening with Azam Khan is wrong and this will cause damage to BJP somewhere. On learning that Azam Khan is being targeted unnecessarily, BJP should have intervened in the matter.”
Samajwadi Party chief and former CM Akhilesh Yadav had also addressed a public gathering in Rampur recently in favour of Fatima. Earlier, Akhilesh had visited Rampur and staged a protest against the state government for unnecessarily targeting SP MP from Rampur.
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