Uttar Pradesh,
India’s biggest state both in population and political influence, is voting in
the second phase of seven-phase Assembly elections on Monday. With 55 seats in
contest, UP will have finished polling for over a quarter of the constituencies.
The first phase of polls was held on February 10.

Also Read | UP Elections 2022: Constituencies, voting pattern; all you need to know

The second phase
of polls is set to see several heavyweights in the fray. The biggest among them
is perhaps Azam Khan. A nine-time MLA from Rampur, Khan is one of the tallest
Muslim leaders of Uttar Pradesh and one of the founding members of the
Samajwadi Party. Other major players in the fray are: Dharam Singh Saini, who
switched from BJP to SP, Abdullah Azam, Azam Khan’s son and Haider Ali Khan.

Also Read | Battle for west UP: Why the first phase polls are significant

Here’s a look at
the most interesting battles in Uttar Pradesh’s second phase of polls:


The poll battle of
Rampur is one of the most anticipated battles of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly
elections. Azam Khan, who moved to Parliament in 2019, is back contesting for
the Vidhan Sabha from this constituency.

Also Read | Rampur: Jailed Azam Khan still stands tall, are there any giant slayers?

The Rampur battle is particularly
interesting because Azam Khan has been in jail for months on charges of
landgrab and criminal intimidation.


Suar, in Rampur’s
neighbourhood, is another key poll battle to watch out for. The Assembly
constituency will see a battle between Azam Khan’s son Abdullah Azam and Haider
Ali Khan, son of Congress leader Kazim Ali Khan, the titular Nawab of Rampur.

Also Read | Muzaffarnagar: Riot ghosts, farm protests may sway polls in western UP’s key Assembly

Abdullah Khan won
the elections in 2017, but the Allahabad High Court overturned his victory because
he was found to be below 25 years of age at the time of filing nominations.
Haider Ali Khan represents BJP ally Apna Dal.   


In Nakur
constituency, it’s a battle of the turncoats. The Samajwadi Party is
represented by Dharam Singh Saini in the polls. The 60-year-old leader is a
two-time MP and a former minister. He switched to the SP from the BJP in the
run-up to the polls. Mukesh Chaudhary, who was a member of the Congress in
2019, is BJP’s candidate in the polls. Chandrasekhar Azad Ravan’s Azad Samaj
Party has also fielded and candidate from Nakur.


In Bilaspur, the
Yogi Adityanath-led government’s sole Sikh minister, Baldev Singh Aulakh, faces
a major challenge. The constituency has a large Sikh population, a group that
was miffed with the BJP during the year-long agitation against three
contentious farm laws which the Centre eventually revoked. The Samajwadi Party
is represented by Amarjeet Singh and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded
Ram Avatar Kashyap.


Tilhar is another
constituency witnessing a battle of turncoats. The BJP is represented by Saloni
Kushwaha, an SP worker who changed sites after she was denied a ticket. The
Samajwadi Party has fielded Roshal Lal Verma, one of the several BJP leaders
who moved to the SP along with Swami Prasad Maurya and others. Verma had won
the Tilhar seat on a BSP ticket in 2012 and defeated Congress Jitin Prasada,
who has since moved to the BJP, in 2017.