Uttar Pradesh elections: Rampur's fierce battle centres around Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan

Against him pitted is his old rival Kazim Ali Khan, son of the last Nawab of Rampur, whose parents won the Rampur Lok Sabha seat seven times on Congress ticket.

Published: 12th February 2022 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2022 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

RAMPUR (UTTAR PRADESH): One of the most keenly anticipated contests in Uttar Pradesh is taking place in the Muslim-dominated seat of Rampur, where jailed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan is up against Congress' Kazim Ali Khan and BJP's Akash Saxena.

What lends an edge to this contest is how Kazim and Saxena are trying to corner the nine-time MLA, and arguably the tallest Muslim leader in the state, Azam Khan. In fact, as one travels around Rampur, it can be seen that all poll-related conversations are polarised around just one subject - Azam Khan.

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Against him pitted is his old rival Kazim Ali Khan, son of the last Nawab of Rampur, whose parents won the Rampur Lok Sabha seat seven times on Congress ticket. The other contender, Saxena, also has a history with Azam, as his father, former BJP minister Shiv Bahadur Saxena, lost the Assembly polls from this seat to Azam Khan way back in 1989. Saxena, a lawyer, is responsible for more than half of the cases filed against the SP leader.

During his poll campaign 46-year-old Saxena boasts about filing 30 of the over 100 FIRs against the SP veteran while Kazim claims he is the one who is to be credited for exposing Azam. "Saxena may have followed up on a few cases but people of Rampur know that I am the one who filed the very first complaint and exposed the many frauds and crimes of Azam Khan and his family," Kazim says.

He adds that Azam Khan's "so-called development was only for himself". 

According to retired government employee Ramesh Pandey, this election is about development and good law-and-order brought about by Yogi Adityanath versus Azam Khan’s work in Rampur. "It is true that Azam Khan brought unparalleled development to Rampur but we have to think holistically this time," Pandey says.


Panwesi Lal, who works at a shoe shop, has a different view. "Rampur is way ahead in development compared to other places in UP so, Azam Khan has to be brought to power again," he said.

Lal's co-worker Ashok Kumar agrees but says Azam Khan's absence from campaigning has made things difficult for the SP leader, so much so that he could lose his seat for the very first time.

Lal doesn't let Kumar finish his argument and points to the e-rickshaw going past saying, "Doesn't matter that Azam Khan is in jail but people like those who got jobs through e-rickshaws are there to vouch for him."

Many in Rampur agreed with Lal's view. Fahim Khan, a lawyer in the city, said, "Azam Khan's absence will only bring more votes for Khan as his work is there for everyone to see."

India Matters


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