LUCKNOW: BJP MP from Rampur Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi on Friday said that his party will spring yet another surprise by registering an unprecedented win in Rampur assembly seat bypolls because the party is gaining immense support from not only Hindus but also from the Muslim community.
Talking to TOI, Lodhi, who won from Rampur Lok Sabha seat in a bypoll in June after SP leader Azam Khan vacated the seat following his election to the state assembly, said that there was no doubt that the BJP would win Rampur assembly seat by a “considerable margin” just like it did earlier this year. “I am a resident of Rampur and know the pulse of the electorate in the constituency,” he said.
An OBC, Lodhi is a former SP MLC who had started his political career with the BJP but switched sides later. He contested the Lok Sabha elections from Rampur as a BSP candidate in 2009 but finished third. He then joined the SP and got elected as a member of the UP Legislative Council from Rampur-Bareilly local body authority constituency in 2016. His term expired in March this year after which he switched over to the BJP.
He subsequently contested Lok Sabha bypoll on the BJP ticket and defeated SP candidate Aseem Raja, a close aide of Azam, by a margin of over 42,000 votes.
Raja, who is back in the fray for Rampur assembly bypoll, now faces challenge from BJP’s Akash Saxena, a known Azam baiter.
Lodhi said that after switching over to the BJP he never allowed his past of being “Azam’s loyalist” cast any shadow on his party’s political aspirations. “He (Azam) is working for his own party and I am working for mine…My past is past now,” he said.
Significantly, BJP has never won the Rampur assembly seat. Azam, who has been winning from Rampur since 1980 lost the seat only once in 1996 when he was defeated by Congress’s Afroz Ali Khan. Azam bounced back in 2002 assembly elections and defeated Afroz by a margin of around 38,000 votes.
Ghanshyam’s victory was also largely because of the massive support for BJP in Bilaspur and Milak assembly segment of Rampur. Raja got more votes in Rampur, Suar and Chamraua assembly segments. BJP had won the Rampur Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

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