SP gearing up to retain Suar assembly seat

| | Lucknow
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SP gearing up to retain Suar assembly seat

Saturday, 01 April 2023 | PNS | Lucknow

Samajwadi Party is gearing up to retain the Suar assembly seat in Rampur district.

The Election Commission of India has announced the bypoll there as the seat was vacated following the disqualification of SP MLA Abdullah Azam after his conviction in a 15-year-old case in February this year.

Abdullah is the son of senior SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan. Polling at Suar will be held on May 10.

SP state president Naresh Uttam on Friday met the chief electoral officer of UP and submitted a memorandum demanding the transfer of Moradabad Divisional Commissioner AK Singh. He said free and fair election in Suar was not possible unless the commissioner was shifted.

Rampur district falls under Moradabad division and AK Singh was earlier District Magistrate of Rampur.

Bypolls to two UP assembly seats — Suar and Chhanbey — will be held on May 10 while counting of votes will be taken up on May 13.

Mirzapur’s Chhanbey seat is going for bypoll after it fell vacant due to the death of Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA Rahul Kol.

The bypolls will not impact the Yogi Adityanath government much in terms of numbers as it enjoys a comfortable majority in the 403-member UP assembly.

However, the Suar seat assumes significance for both Bharatiya Janata Party and the family of SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan. The BJP is looking forward to making a clean sweep in the Azam Khan bastion by winning the Suar seat too after recently defeating Azam Khan’s protégée from Rampur assembly seat, the stronghold of Azam Khan.

Bypoll to Rampur assembly seat was held in December 2022 as Azam Khan was disqualified as the Rampur Sadar MLA in October 2022 after being sentenced to three years in jail in a 2019 hate speech case. The BJP succeeded in demolishing the four-decade-old hold of Azam Khan on the Rampur Sadar assembly seat where its candidate Aakash Saxena won.

The Azam Khan family, which is struggling with difficulties both on the political and the court fronts, now faces the challenge of saving its last bastion, the Suar assembly constituency.

Both father and son have been barred from contesting elections for six years. It is also a huge jolt for Azam Khan as it is for the first time in the last over four decades that the veteran SP leader’s family does not have a single MLA or MP. Azam Khan or one of his family members has continuously fought from either Rampur or Suar seats since 1977.

In the 2022 bypolls, the SP decided not to give ticket to either Azam Khan’s wife or his daughter-in-law and instead chose Khan loyalist Asim Raza, who eventually lost the seat to BJP’s Aakash Saxena.

For the SP, the Suar by-election is a prestige issue for it. The Suar assembly seat is Muslim-dominated but despite this fact, the BJP has won it on five occasions while Jan Sangh won it once. The Congress managed to capture this seat eight times while on the other hand, the SP has won this seat thrice.

The BJP had kept the Suar seat for its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) in the 2022 assembly elections, but the Apna Dal candidate Haider Ali Khan alias Hamza Miyan, belonging to the Rampur Nawab family, lost to Azam Khan’s son. This was the seat where the only Muslim candidate from National Democratic Alliance contested and so this time the Bharatiya Janata Party is unlikely to repeat this experiment.

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