Senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan’s 27-year-old engineer son, Abdullah Azam Khan, is all set to take the electoral plunge when the state goes to the polls in 2017.
Another son rise will open the Samajwadi Party to more criticism over nepotism and dynastic politics but Abdullah is not too worried.
“…the constituency from where I am hopeful of contesting hasn’t been a party stronghold. So, I am planning to start my political innings from a difficult constituency,” he said. Abdullah is likely to contest from Suar Tanda.
Abdullah is Azam Khan’s youngest son. His mother, Tazeen Fatima, represents the party in the Rajya Sabha and Azam Khan, who wields considerable clout in the state, is an eight-time MLA from Rampur.
Abdullah is also the CEO of Jauhar University in Rampur. His father Azam, who on Saturday “named” him the Suar Tanda candidate, is the lifetime chancellor and Fatima the pro vice-chancellor. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose nod is a must for Abdullah to contest the election, is the university visitor.
Abdullah says he wants to continue the family’s 40-year-old political rivalry with the “nawabs of Rampur”.
Nawab Kazim Ali Khan represents Suar Tanda is the Uttar Pradesh assembly. The four-time lawmaker won the 2012 state election as a Congress candidate but recently switched sides to former chief minister Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party that is looking to dislodge the SP.
Kazim has also had a brief but successful association with SP. It was he who won Suar Tanda for the party for the first time in 2007. Now, that he has joined the BSP, Abdullah says he wants to end the “political hold of the nawabs that has been declining over the years”.
Abdullah addressed his first political rally in April 2014 in the run-up to the Lok Sabha poll after the election commission (EC) banned his father from campaigning for his inflammatory speeches. Abdullah’s speech reportedly impressed chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Abdullah spoke about alleged discrimination against Muslims and even took on the EC for banning his father from campaigning.
“Certain things are god’s gifts. I never prepare my speeches and usually speak extempore,” he said when asked about his famed oratory skills.
Rampur-based old Azam loyalist Fasahat ‘Shanoo’ said Abdullah had an instant connect with audience. “You won’t believe it but people have been writing letters with blood demanding Abdullah’s candidature,” he said.
The Samajwadi Party did poorly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but Akhilesh Yadav is trying a last-minute image makeover, emphasising on development and looking to play down the caste and religious equations.