Apna Dal (S), a BJP ally, has announced its first candidate for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Haider Ali Khan is the candidate from Suar in western Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district, where Abdullah Azam, the son of jailed Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, is expected to run.
The news: The announcement came despite no official word on a seat-sharing agreement between the BJP and its alliance partners, Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal (S) and Sanjay Nishad’s Nishad party.
- Haider Khan’s candidacy from a BJP ally is one of the few times the BJP alliance has fielded a Muslim candidate for the UP election.
- Khan comes from a royal family in Rampur, and his grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, was a five-term Congress MP from Rampur. Haider’s father, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, is a four-term MLA who is currently the Congress candidate in Rampur, a seat adjacent to Suar.
What’s going on: The Apna Dal (S) candidate has made headlines for his U-turns. He was initially designated as the Congress candidate for the Suar constituency. Later, he travelled to Delhi and met with Anupriya Patel, who has now officially designated him as her party’s candidate for Suar.
- Abdullah Azam ran as a Samajwadi Party candidate from Suar in the 2017 Assembly election and won. The Allahabad High Court cancelled Mr Abdullah’s election victory in December 2019 on the grounds that he was under the age of 25 when he filed his nomination for the 2017 elections.
- Abdullah has been imprisoned on multiple charges, including cheating, since February 2020. He was released on bail a few days ago and will almost certainly be fielded by the Samajwadi Party from Suar this time.
- Abdullah’s father, Azam Khan, is the current Lok Sabha MP from Rampur and has been imprisoned in various cases since February 2020.
- Azam Khan has petitioned the Supreme Court for interim bail so that he can campaign in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
In his plea, he stated that the state has “adopted all means available” to delay the proceedings on his three remaining bail applications in order to ensure that he remains imprisoned during the state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, which are scheduled to take place from February 10 to March 7, and is unable to campaign for his party.