Mohsin Raza on Sunday took oath as a minister of state — the only Muslim in Yogi Adityanath’s team.
The BJP did not field any Muslim candidate in the polls. So the news that Raza would be a minister came as a surprise. A stream of visitors was seen at his house in Mahtabbagh locality of Lucknow’s Old City through the day. “It was only in the morning that he got a call to go and take oath,” said Raza’s brother Arshi, head of the sports cell of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.
Raza, 49, is the eldest son of Syed Jina Raza Naqvi, who claims to hail from a family of Shia zamindars based in Shafipur area of Unnao district. Raza represented the state in Ranji tournaments. He also acted in TV serials. He joined the Congress in 1999. Rizwan Shamshad, a former UP all-rounder, said, “He was a good all-rounder. Had he focused on cricket, he would have played at a higher level. He used to keep the mood in the team very light.”
“Later he got in touch with Atalji and joined the BJP in 2012,” said Arshi. Raza has represented the BJP in TV debates for the last two years. Family members claimed that Raza’s wife Fauzia Sarvat Fatima is related to Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla. On Adityanath becoming CM, Arshi said, “It is in a way good for Muslims… First it was the fear of Modi and now the fear of Yogi… All their fears are being removed.”