With the polling underway for the Lok Sabha bypolls in two constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, about 9.21 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Azamgarh while Rampur witnessed 7.86 per cent voter turnout till 9 am.
The Lok Sabha seat is considered the bastion of the Opposition Samajwadi Party in the state. Over 35 lakh people are eligible to vote in the polls and will be deciding the fate of 19 candidates. The bye-elections to the Azamgarh seat were necessitated due to the resignation of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly as an MLA in the elections earlier this year.
Seats fell vacant in Azamgarh and Rampur after Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Azam Khan resigned as MPs from the seats after winning in the 2022 Assembly elections. Akhilesh was elected as an MLA from the Karhal assembly seat while Azam Khan was elected from the Rampur Sadar constituency.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party had contested the polls in alliance with the BSP and Azam had won from Rampur. Total 13 candidates are in the fray from Azamgarh, where 18.38 lakh people are eligible to vote. Six candidates are contesting from Rampur, which has 17.06 lakh voters. From Rampur, the BJP has fielded Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who recently joined the party, while the SP has fielded Asim Raja, handpicked by Khan. Mayawati-led BSP is not contesting from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat will be contested by BJP's Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirhua', a famous Bhojpuri actor-singer, SP's Dharmendra Yadav, and BSP's Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali. Meanwhile, SP leader Azam Khan said that the opposition 'wreaked havoc overnight' ahead of the polls.
"If polling percentage (for LS bypolls) drops, the blame is also on govt.They wreaked havoc overnight. Jeeps and sirens were everywhere in the city (Rampur); they took people to the PS, beat them up and I've heard of some money transfers as well. It's shameful," said Azam Khan. "I'm a criminal, I accept... so my city has also been presumed to be the same. They can do whatever they want, we have to endure. If I want to stay, I have to endure," added SP leader Azam Khan, after claiming police violence in Rampur.