Why was Azam Khan denied bail? Why is Rampur 2022 a bitter contest?

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Rampur Lok Sabha MP Azam Khan has been denied an interim bail by the Supreme Court in a hearing early Tuesday afternoon, Live Law reported. The Rampur MP had sought bail to campaign for the UP Assembly Elections 2022. He is currently lodged at the Sitapur jail, where he has been since February 27, 2020. 

The bench led by Justice L Nageshwara Rao and BR Govai asked the petitioner, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, to move the Allahabad High Court as the writ petition was filed under Article 32 of the Indian consitution. Reacting on the writ petition, the bench remarked, “How do you file 32 for bail? You go to the HC.”

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Of all the 87 cases filed against Azam Khan, he has secured bail in 84 cases. Only three cases that include charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal defamation, tampering of evidence, corruption, cheating, forgery are pending in court.

Why was Azam Khan denied bail? Why is Rampur 2022 a bitter contest?
© Provided by DailyO 4 2 Azam Khan (R) with SP leader Akhilesh Yadav. Photo: Getty Images

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Khan has been fielded by Samajwadi Party (SP) from Rampur for UP Elections 2022. Given that Azam Khan has been denied bail, the Rampur Assembly seat is expected to witness high drama. Azam’s arch rival, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, the Nawab from Rampur royal family, is campaiging against Azam. Kazim is contesting on a Congress ticket this time.

To make the fight even more intense, BJP has fielded another of Azam’s arch rivals – Akash Saxena, son of former BJP minister Shiv Bahadur Saxena, from Rampur. Rampur goes to poll on February 14, 2022. 

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What did the court say, how Azam’s counsel responded, and why the Rampur seat is a hot battle in 2022 – are the major questions at the moment.

Here are the answers.


Azam Khan in his petition has said that the state BJP government is deliberately trying to stall the proceedings of the case so that he doesn’t secure bail. 

Azam Khan’s counsel, Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal appeared for him in the Supreme Court. He said to SC that a bail petition was filed three times in the Allahabad High Court in the last 3-4 months, but it has not been taken up for some or the other reason.

Sibal said that the judges sometimes said that the file was not there and that sometimes the sitting didn’t take place after lunch. Sibal said, ”Where do we go, election is going on.”

The bench responded with, “Dont bring politics in court.” 

The SC has asked the Allahabad HC to dispose of the matter expeditiously.

Earlier, Azam’s bail was rejected by the special MP/MLA court on January 27, 2022 on grounds that his release had the potential to incite public or members of a community to disturb peace and harmony.


Why was Azam Khan denied bail? Why is Rampur 2022 a bitter contest?
© Provided by DailyO 6 1 Azam Khan. Photo: Getty Images

Azam Khan is pitted against his rival Nawab Kazim Ali Khan alias Naved Miyan. The rivalry between Azam and the Rampur Nawabs is four decades old; since the 1980s. Azam and the Rampur Nawab family have never seen eye to eye. The four-time MLA of Rampur, Kazim Ali Khan, has been given a ticket by the Congress to oust Azam from the seat.

Azam has been winning the seat since 1980 and is a nine-time MLA from Rampur.

Kazim Ali Khan is fighting from Rampur for the first time. In 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017, he contested from Suar Tanda, winning it thrice in a row. Kazim Ali Khan lost only to Azam’s son Abdullah Khan in the 2017 UP Assembly Elections.

In 1996, he won the Bilaspur seat (now defunct) constitutency.

The bad blood between them grew worse as Kazim filed cases against Azam’s son Abdullah, regarding his nomination from Suar Tanda. Abudullah was removed as an MLA in 2019 by the Allahabad High court on the grounds that he was an underage at the time of contesting elections. Abdullah was also in Sitapur jail for two years with his father and mother.


Nawab Kazim Ali Khan and his son Haider Ali Khan alias Hamza Miyan, in their rallies, have reminded people of the atrocities of Azam Khan from 2012-2017 when he was a powerful Cabinet minister in the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government. Kazim says that the fight is against the people who grabbed land of the poor and built universities and schools on it. He has also been reminding people of the tyranny of Azam as a ruler.

Speaking to The Print, Haider Ali Khan said that Azam Khan only built one university Mohammad Ali Jauhar; whereas the Nawabs built 35 universities, schools, colleges which are still being run by the government. He also shunned the Rs 500-crore bridge built by Khan on which, he said, boys make TikTok videos.

Haider Ali Khan is contesting on an Apna Dal (Sonelal) ticket against Azam Khan’s son, Abdullah Azam, from the Suar Tanda constituency.


Why was Azam Khan denied bail? Why is Rampur 2022 a bitter contest?
© Provided by DailyO abdullah azam 1 Abdullah Azam Khan (L) with former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav. Photo: India Today Archives

Azam’s son Abdullah, who was out on bail in January, has assumed leadership in Rampur in the absence of his father. Abdullah has been given a ticket by SP from Suar Tanda, from where he contested and won in 2017 defeating Kazim Ali Khan.

Abdullah, ahead of the elections is doing the door-to-door meetings. He also addressed 200-300 SP workers at the party’s office. He does realise the gravity of the situation as odds are stacked against his family this time. A three-tier contest is bound to affect the votes. He has made it an awaam vs nawab election campaign.

Charging at the Nawabs, he said that they were people who sided with the British against their own countrymen. He said that they were the same people who washed their hands after touching a common man, and hence they should not be the ones to speak for the common man.

Azam has earlier called out the attitude of the Nawabs during their reign in Rampur. He said that they didn’t like commoners walking on the roads on which the Nawabs walked. 


Azam Khan won the Rampur Assembly seat by 1,02,000 votes in the 2017 election. His nearest rival, BJP’s Shiv Bahadur Saxena, got 55,258 while BSP’s Tanver Ahmed Khan got 54,248 votes. Azam’s influence in the district had won him the poll.

But in 2019 when his wife Tanzeem Fatima fought the by-polls from the same seat, she won by a thin margin of 7,716 votes defeating BJP’s Bharat Bhushan. Azam had won the 2019 Lok Sabha seat from Rampur. He knew that the Assembly contest would be a close one, because the BJP government was in power and state bureaucracy was after him with cases. Still, SP managed to get the seat.

This time, in a triple battle, the division of minority vote between Azam and Kazim Ali Khan is certain. BJP’s Akash Saxena, a staunch Azam critic and a person who filed forgery cases against Azam Khan after 2017, is likely to gain from this seat as the non-Muslim votes will be consolidated.

Abdullah and the Rampur SP unit have a gigantic task of pulling off a victory in this scenario. In all, a bitter old rivalry will be fought on the political pitch on February 14, 2022, the results of which would be out on March 10.

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