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BJP ally’s first ticket in UP: Haidar Ali Khan

This is a significant move as Apna Dal (S), which has a significant base of Kurmi (OBC) votes in eastern and central UP, is contesting polls for the first time in western UP – that too with a Muslim candidate.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: January 23, 2022 10:21:27 pm
UPIn 2017, the Suar seat was won by Abdullah Azam Khan, son of veteran SP leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan. In 2019, however, the Allahabad High Court cancelled his victory on the grounds that he was aged below 25 when he had filed his nomination papers.

BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) on Sunday announced its first candidate for the forthcoming UP polls, fielding Haider Ali Khan from the Suar constituency in Rampur district.

This is a significant move as Apna Dal (S), which has a significant base of Kurmi (OBC) votes in eastern and central UP, is contesting polls for the first time in western UP – that too with a Muslim candidate.

Haider, who joined Apna Dal (S) a few days ago, was earlier the Congress candidate from the same seat. His father Nawab Kazim Ali Khan is still with the Congress and is the party’s candidate from Rampur seat.

“The Congress contacted him and tried to stop him from leaving the party, but Haider did not change his decision,” said Dharmendra Dev Gupta, Congress’s Rampur district president. He added the Congress will announce a new candidate from Suar soon.

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Fighting his first election, Haider, 31, is a graduate from the University of Essex, UK. He handled his father’s campaign in Rampur during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and the 2012 and 2017 state polls as well. He has said his decision to quit the Congress for Apna Dal (S) was to work “in interest of the public.”

“Haider agreed with the ideologies of our party. He joined the party in Delhi about a week earlier. The party has made him a candidate in the current (UP) elections,” Apna Dal (S) spokesperson Rajesh Patel said on Sunday.

In 2017, the Suar seat was won by Abdullah Azam Khan, son of veteran SP leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan. In 2019, however, the Allahabad High Court cancelled his victory on the grounds that he was aged below 25 when he had filed his nomination papers.

A Muslim majority district, Rampur will vote in the second phase of the elections on February 14. Abdullah is likely to be SP candidate from Suar.

When asked why would Muslims vote for Haidar as an ally of the BJP, Patel said: “He will get votes because we speak for social justice. Top party leaders will campaign for him.”

When the BJP announced its first list of candidates on January 15, it had not declared any candidate for Suar. A local BJP leader said Haider had been in touch with the BJP as well but will contest as an Apna Dal(S) candidate. “We are hopeful that he will get votes of those Muslims who are against Azam Khan’s family and other traditional voters of BJP. If this strategy works, he may win the election.”

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