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No Muslim MLA in Rampur for First Time Since Independence. Why BJP's Win is a Watershed Moment in UP

News18 09-12-2022 Aman Sharma
No Muslim MLA in Rampur for First Time Since Independence. Why BJP's Win is a Watershed Moment in UP © Provided by News18 No Muslim MLA in Rampur for First Time Since Independence. Why BJP's Win is a Watershed Moment in UP

BJP’s first-ever win since Independence in Rampur Assembly seat on Thursday has further strengthened the dominance of Brand Yogi in Uttar Pradesh, indicating that UP is now the second-biggest fortress of the saffron party after Gujarat. The Rampur seat has over 50% Muslim population.

This comes after the BJP earlier this year won Lok Sabha bypolls in both Azamgarh and Rampur, the strongholds of the Samajwadi Party. The Rampur Assembly seat had never been won by the BJP since Independence, with Azam Khan and his family winning from here for the last two decades for the Samajwadi Party. The seat has always seen a Muslim MLA since Independence. BJP’s Akash Saxena has now won with a whopping 62% vote share here, indicating that some of the Muslim electorate has also voted for BJP in the Rampur Assembly seat.

The result was a complete reversal from the Assembly election in Rampur earlier this year in March when Azam Khan won with a nearly 60% vote share, defeating Akash Saxena. Khan was subsequently disqualified following his conviction in a case that prompted this bypoll. Azam Khan’s hold over Rampur Assembly seat was such that he and his family won the seat 11 times out of the total 20 elections on this seat.

Azam Khan was the MLA from Rampur from 1980 to 1995 and from 2002 till 2022. This time, a close confidante of Azam Khan was given the ticket.

BJP’s winning candidate Akash Saxena is the son of former minister Shiv Bahadur Saxena and he said that Muslims were never given respect in Rampur during the Azam Khan reign. “Muslims were always subjugated here and their love was construed as slavery. Muslims have broken the bonds of slavery to back me in this election,” Saxena said.

His father, Shiv Bahadur Saxena had lost to Azam Khan in Rampur in the 2017 Assembly election. Akash had also lost to Azam Khan in March this year. The family of Saxena has managed to get sweet revenge over Khan now.

The BJP, however, lost the Khatauli Assembly bypoll and the Lok Sabha bypoll in Manipuri seat, with the former won by the RLD and the latter by Dimple Yadav. The Khatauli seat is a setback for the BJP given that the new BJP state president, Bhupendra Choudhary, comes from this region in west UP. Samajwadi Party swam on the sympathy wave after Mulayam Singh Yadav’s death to romp home in its stronghold of Manipuri.

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