LUCKNOW: A day after he registered a historic win in Rampur bypoll – becoming the first non-Muslim candidate to do so in the constituency – BJP MLA Akash Saxena on Friday compared Rampur to Kashmir, citing heavy concentration of Muslim population in it.
Rampur assembly seat has 3.9 lakh voters, of which nearly 2.5 lakh are Muslims.
“Rampur is just like Kashmir since it has 70% Muslims. No Hindu could ever win the seat since independence, though many tried in the past,” he said, while speaking to TOI. Akash said that he won against all odds and with the support of people, primarily Muslims, who were victims of atrocities inflicted by former SP MLA Azam Khan and his henchmen.
Azam, whose disqualification on charges of delivering a hate speech in 2019 led to the bypoll, has been winning the seat since 1980, except 1996, when he lost to Congress’ Afroz Ali Khan. Azam has been contesting UP assembly elections from Rampur since 1977 – the year when the seat was won by Congress’ Manzoor Ali Khan.
“Azam actually ruled over Rampur as if it was his fiefdom…he ensured that the people of Rampur remained poor and yet supported him. He orchestrated closure of industries and blocked other sources of employment which could have brought happiness to the people,” he said. Saxena accused Azam of asking people to pilfer resources in order to survive. “But that did not bring any gratification to the people over the years,” he said.
Akash said that he would have won the seat nine months ago during the UP assembly elections itself had there been no “false wave” of Samajwadi Party coming to power, in what, he said, resulted in Muslims getting consolidated behind SP. “In case of Rampur, they voted for Azam in a big way,” he said. Saxena was defeated by Azam by a margin of around 55,000 votes in the 2022 UP assembly elections.
“This time, people, essentially Muslims, voted for the BJP to end the hegemony of Azam,” said Saxena (46), a known baiter of Khan and his family. He said that his win from Rampur was a firm attestation of BJP’s stand of fielding a candidate on the basis of their ‘winnability’ instead on the grounds of religion.
The BJP, as a matter of fact, has not been fielding a Muslim in any elections since its mega rise under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi since 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2022 UP assembly elections, though BJP ally Apna Dal fielded Congress leader (now expelled) Nawab Kazim Ali’s son Haider Ali from Suar constituency in Rampur, Haider lost to the SP candidate and Azam’s son Abdullah Azam.





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