The Apna Dal (S) has fielded Haider Ali Khan from Suar Assembly seat in Rampur, the pocket borough of Samajwadi Party (SP) heavyweight and jailed MP Azam Khan.
Haider is from Rampur's royal family and the grandson of Begum Noor Bano, veteran Congress leader and former MP of Rampur, whose rivalry with Azam is well known in political circles.
Congress had declared Haider its candidate on January 13, but he severed ties with his party to join Apna Dal (S).
This is the first time that the BJP ally has fielded a Muslim candidate since 2014.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the Apna Dal had fielded 11 candidates -- all non-Muslims -- and won nine seats. This time, the party expects to get at least 15 seats.
Haider, a 32-year-old graduate from Essex University, is the son of Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, a four-time MLA from Suar and Bilaspur (now extinct).
Kazim had contested the 2017 elections from Suar on a BSP ticket but lost to SP candidate and Azam Khan's son Abdullah Azam by a margin of nearly 65,000 votes in 2017.
Kazim Ali Khan stood third behind the BJP's Laxmi Saini who bagged 26 per cent of the vote share.
In December 2019, Abdullah lost his Uttar Pradesh Assembly membership on charges of discrepancies in his election affidavit.
The complainant in the case was Kazim Ali. In February 2020, Abdullah, along with his father Azam Khan and mother Tazeen Fatima were sent to jail in connection with several criminal cases lodged against them.
The BJP has already fielded Akash Saxena, son of former BJP MLA from Suar Shiv Bahadur Saxena, from Rampur. He pursued cases of alleged land-grabbing against Azam Khan.
Haider's candidature as BJP's ally candidate comes even as Abdullah Azam is preparing to contest again from Suar.
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