Lucknow, Sep 30 : The Samajwadi party has turned to nine time MLA Azam Khan and his family to secure Rampur assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh which goes to polls on October 21.
The bypolls will be held on eleven assembly seats in the state.
Azam Khan seems to be a sure bet for the SP in the Rampur constituency as he had won the Lok Sabha elections here by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Jaya Prada. Following his win in the general elections, the Rampur Assembly seat fell vacant.
However, with as many as seventy criminal cases pertaining to alleged land grabbing and others filed against the the SP MLA he is out of contest this time.
But the SP leadership placed faith in Azam's wife Tazeen Fatima who is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, a membership she is to hold till 2020. If she wins the bypolls, she will have to vacate her Rajya Sabha seat and chances are that the seat will go to the BJP.
Speculations about fielding of an SP candidate from Rampur Assembly seat were rife since long. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress have fielded minority community candidates from this seat and hence it was anticipated that the SP will field a majority community candidate so that the benefit of the divide between the minority community votes goes in its favour. Azam Khan's supporters in Rampur were also in favour of fielding a Hindu candidate.
All eyes within and outside the party, were on the SP candidate while names of probable candidates like SP president Akhilesh Yadav's wife and former Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav as well as cousin and former Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav, were also doing the rounds.
On the other hand, the SP leadership was keen on fielding a member of Azam Khan's family for the bypoll contest. One reason behind this is that fielding a candidate from Azam Khan's family (who is currently facing charges) in a Muslim majority district will attract the sympathy of minority voters in its favour.
The SP clearly does not wish to lose the Rampur seat and has thus put its weight behind Azam Khan's family. (UNI)