The first BJP victory in Rampur Assembly seat since Independence on Thursday further strengthened Brand Yogi’s dominance in Uttar Pradesh, making it the second-largest bastion of the saffron party after Gujarat. Over 50% of the population of Rampur is Muslim.
Earlier this year, the BJP won bypolls in Samajwadi Party strongholds Azamgarh and Rampur. In the last two decades, Azam Khan and his family have won the Rampur Assembly seat for the Samajwadi Party, never winning since Independence.
Since independence, there has always been a Muslim MLA in the seat. In the Rampur Assembly seat, BJP’s Akash Saxena has won with a whopping 62% vote share, indicating that some Muslim voters also voted for him.
In March, Azam Khan won the Assembly election in Rampur with nearly 60% of the votes, defeating Akash Saxena. After his conviction in a case that prompted this byelection, Khan was disqualified. In the 20 elections held on Rampur Assembly seat, Azam Khan and his family won the seat 11 times.
Azam Khan was Rampur’s MLA from 1980 to 1995 and 2002 to 2022. A close confidante of Azam Khan was given the ticket this time.
BJP’s winning candidate Akash Saxena is the son of former minister Shiv Bahadur Saxena, who said Muslims were never respected in Rampur under Azam Khan. “Muslims were always subjugated here, and their love was interpreted as slavery. In this election, Muslims have broken the bonds of slavery to support me,” Saxena said.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, Shiv Bahadur Saxena lost to Azam Khan in Rampur. In March of this year, Akash had also lost to Azam Khan. Now, the Saxena family has gotten sweet revenge on Khan.
However, the BJP lost the Khatauli Assembly bypoll and the Lok Sabha bypoll in Manipuri, with the former won by the RLD and the latter by Dimple Yadav.
Due to the fact that the new BJP state president, Bhupendra Choudhary, comes from the Khatauli region in west UP, this is a setback for the BJP. In its stronghold of Manipuri, the Samajwadi Party swam on the sympathy wave after Mulayam Singh Yadav’s death.
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