- Asim Raja, Azam khan's close aide will be SP's candidate for the Rampur Lok Sabha elections
- Asim Raja has been the city president of the Samajwadi Party for the past eight years
- Khan vacated the seat after his election to the state Assembly this year
Senior SP leader Muhammad Azam Khan's close aide Asim Raja will be the party's candidate for the by-elections to the Rampur Lok Sabha seat. Khan announced his name here at his party office Darr-ul-Awam, which means the house of common people. The senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader had vacated the seat after his election to the state Assembly this year, necessitating the bypolls. The announcement came days after party president Akhilesh Yadav met Khan at a Delhi hospital, where according to sources they discussed the bypolls to the Rampur seat.
Addressing a gathering here, Khan said people might have thought he is going to field his wife as she had obtained nomination papers. "We have decided to set an example, so I have chosen my old companion who has a rich political experience and his name is Asim Raja," Khan said. Azam appealed to all Samajwadi Party workers and local leaders to work and ensure victory for the party candidate in the byelections.
An emotional Khan also narrated his stay at the jail, where he spent over two years. He thanked the Supreme Court for granting him an interim bail.
Asim Raja has been associated with Azam Khan for the past 40 years, even before the formation of the Samajwadi Party. Raja is the city president of the Samajwadi Party for the past eight years. In 1989, he had contested the civic polls in Rampur. He has done his MA in political science from Raza Postgraduate Degree College at Rampur in 1981.
Speaking to PTI, 64-year-old Raja said, "I have participated in all movements and protests along with Azam Khan, whether it was a 'jail bharo andolan' or any other protest carried out by Azam Khan sahab. I was always the chief election agent of Azam Khan in every election, be it the Assembly or Lok Sabha elections." He said in December last year, he had surrendered before a court and was sent to jail after he was declared wanted by police in a case related to anti-CAA protests in 2019. Raja was later released on bail by a Rampur court.