Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) [India], December 8 (ANI): For the first time, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday won the Rampur Sadar assembly seat, considered a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan when its candidate Akash Saxena defeated his nearest rival, Asim Raja.
BJP's Akash Saxena defeated Azam's nominee Asim Raza in a close battle by a margin of over 34,000 votes.
Akash Saxena after winning from the Muslim-majority Rampur seat said, "I salute and express my gratitude to all the people of Rampur for their contribution, especially all the Hindus and Muslims in this historic victory."
SP lost the seat within six months of winning the Rampur Lok Sabha seat in June.
In the 2022 assembly elections, Saxena had contested from Rampur Sadar against SP's senior leader Azam Khan who had contested the seat from behind bars but failed to defeat him.
Saxena won by defeating Asim Raza, a close aide of Azam who first lost the Rampur Lok Sabha bypolls as SP candidate and now the Rampur Sadar assembly bypolls within a span of six months.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak, BJP state president Bhupendra Chaudhary, several UP ministers and many others campaigned extensively in Rampur for Akash. Former union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who hails from Rampur, held several door-to-door meetings in Rampur.
For the first time since 1977, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan or a family member will not represent the seat.
Azam Khan or a member of his family has fought from the seat continuously since 1977.
Khan has contested 12 assembly elections from 1977 to 2022 from the seat of which he has won ten times and lost twice.
In the by-election held after Azam Khan became a Member of Parliament in 2019, his wife Tazeen Fatma contested and won. Now Asim Raja will now try his luck in the by-election.
Congress was a strong force in the seat in the seventies and eighties. Between 1980 and 1993, Khan won five assembly elections consecutively but lost the 1996 election to Congress's Afroz Ali Khan. Azam Khan was sent to Rajya Sabha. Later he consecutively won five elections between 2002 and 2022.
Azam Khan and his family have faced legal cases. A First Information Report was lodged against Azam Khan's wife and his son in a case of an alleged conspiracy to grab government land in 2014 when he was a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
Khan has been disqualified from his assembly seat after a local court sentenced him to three years in jail in a hate speech case. (ANI)