Azam Khan fortress breach gives NDA its first Muslim MLA in UP | Lucknow News

LUCKNOW: The BJP-led NDA got its first Muslim MLA in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday when Shafiq Ahmad Ansari of ally Apna Dal (S) defeated Anuradha Chaudhan of the SP in by-elections at the Suar assembly seat in Rampur, completing a final assault on the disqualified MP Azam Khan’s Fortress.
The AD(S) led by Anupriya Patel also retained Chhanbey’s reserved seat in Mirzapur district which became vacant with the death of the incumbent, Rahul Kol, this February. The latter’s wife Rinki Kol defeated Kirti Kol of the Samajwadi Party by 9,587 votes.
Suar’s bypoll was prompted by Azam’s son Abdullah Azam, who was disqualified as an MLA following his conviction in a February criminal case. The twin victories lift the party’s tally in the assembly to 15 and that of the NDA to 276. Akhilesh Yadav’s SP dropped to 110.
Ansari, former president of Suar Nagar Palika Parishad, is a Pasmanda Muslim, a community that the BJP has consistently addressed. He defeated Chauhan, a member of the Rampur Zila Panchayat, by 8,724 votes. This is the third time the NDA has breached the Rampur bastion of Azam.
Last year, the BJP wrested the Rampur Lok Sabha seat and then the Rampur assembly seat from SP after Azam lost his membership following his conviction in a hate speech case. On both occasions, the BJP had fielded Hindu candidates. BSP and Congress fielded no candidates in either contest.


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