Rampur, once a sugar
refining hub, is set to witness a poll contest anything but sweet. In one of
the most anticipated electoral contests in the second phase of the Assembly polls,
a jailed Azam Khan – one of the tallest Muslim leaders of Uttar Pradesh and a
founding member of the Samajwadi Party – is set to fight a pitched battle.

Rampur has been
Azam Khan’s stronghold for decades. The 73-year-old politician has represented
Rampur in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly nine times. In 2019, he went on to
represent the region in Parliament.

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When Azam Khan
went to Parliament, his place in the Assembly was taken by Dr Tazneen Fatima in
the ensuing bye-elections. She received 49.13% of the vote. The second place
went to Bharat Bhushan of the BJP who won 44.34% of the vote.

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Now, Azam Khan is set
to return to the Assembly poll fray. Against him, stands long-time rival Kazim
Ali Khan of the Congress. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to go
all guns blazing, figuratively of course, against Khan fielding Akash Saxena,
the 46-year-old lawyer behind at least 30 of the nearly 100 cases against Azam

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While Azam Khan
will be contesting the polls from Rampur, his son Abdullah Azam is contesting
the polls from neighbouring Suar. This will be Abdullah Azam’s second poll

In 2017, he
contested the polls from the same constituency as the Samajwadi Party
candidate. However, the Allahabad High Court struck down his victory because he
was found to be below 25 years of age at the time of filing his nomination.   

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Uttar Pradesh is
going to polls in seven phases. The first phase elections in 58 Assembly
constituencies were conducted on Thursday, February 10. Elections in UP will go
on till March 7. Results will be declared on March 10.