Lucknow: The assembly by-elections in Suar in Rampur and Chhanbey in Mirzapur have witnessed a low-key contest, mainly because of the absence of BJP on both the seats.
The BJP has given both the seats to its ally Apna Dal (S).
Polling on the two seats is due on Wednesday.
The Suar assembly seat fell vacant after Abdullah Azam was disqualified, following his conviction in a criminal case while the Chhanbey seat was declared vacant after the demise of sitting MLA Rahul Kol.
The Apna Dal (S) has fielded a Muslim candidate Shafiq Ansari, a Pasmanda Muslim from Suar while the Samajwadi Party has fielded Anuradha Chauhan, a Thakur.
In 2022 too, Anupriya Patel-led outfit had fielded a Muslim candidate, Haider Ali, son of former Congressman, Nawab Kazim Ali, against Abdullah Azam. Haider, however, lost by more than 60,000 votes.
The SP, on the other hand, has changed its strategy by fielding a Thakur, the community which has a perceptible presence in the seat which has heavy dominance of Muslim population (according to an estimate around 60 per cent of the voters in Suar are Muslims).
BJP’s Rampur president Abhay Gupta said that the party was giving full organisational reinforcement to Apna Dal (S) as and when needed.
Apna Dal (S) chief and Union Minister Anupriya Patel turned up along with UP BJP chief Bhupendra Chaudhary in Rampur on Sunday to campaign for her party candidate.
The Rampur assembly by-election in Suar has also been left to organisational functionaries, with rare visits by senior party functionaries from the saffron camp.
Sources said that SP was completely relying on the ground presence of Azam supporters in Suar. SP spokesperson Juhie Singh said that a host of party leaders have been camping in Rampur as and when demanded by party workers.
The contest for the reserved Chhanbey seat in Mirzapur is also interesting. The by-poll was caused due to death of sitting Apna Dal (S) MLA Rahul Kol.
Now, the Apna Dal (S) has fielded his wife Rinki Kol against SP’s Kirti Kol, daughter of former lawmaker Bhai Lal Kol. The SP had narrowly lost Chhanbey in 2022.