What Rampur victory means to Tanzeen Fatima

RAMPUR: For Tanzeen Fatima, her win in the by-election to Rampur, the seat her husband Mohd Azam Khan vacated after winning the Lok Sabha election earlier this year, is the proverbial silver lining after months of dark clouds.

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The past four months have been horrifying, to put it rather mildly, for the Khan family.

Azam Khan has been booked 84 criminals cases related to land grabbing, encroachment and thefts of buffalo, goat, books, statues and power.

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His wife Tanzeen Fatima and son Abdullah Azam have also been made co-accused in some cases.

The fear of arrest loomed over Azam Khan as the courts turned down his bail application in case after case.

“We have faced the worst times of our lives. I am glad that the people have stood by us in this hour of crisis even though the state government has spared no efforts to demolish us — politically, financially, morally and emotionally,” said Tanzeen Fatima as she waited to be declared a winner.

The victory of Tanzeen Fatima on her husband’s seat has given a new lease of life to the beleaguered family.

Since the Rampur administration began its crackdown on Azam Khan in June this year, most Samajwadi Party leaders maintained a safe distance from the family that was once known to be the second most powerful family in the party after the Yadav clan.

In the first week of September, Tanzeen Fatima had come down to meet Mulayam Singh Yadav and seek his support. Mulayam Singh held a press conference in which he announced unconditional support to Azam Khan and rubbished the allegations against him. He also asked Akhilesh Yadav to launch a state-wide agitation in his support but the latter ignored his father’s diktat.

“When the by-elections were announced, the party realised that it could not win the Rampur seat and the only way to do so was to field a member of Khan’s family. Though Tanzeen Fatima is already a Rajya Sabha MP, she was chosen by the party to battle in Rampur,” said a senior party leader.

Azam Khan single-handedly ran the campaign for his wife, using the government’s action against him and his family to play the victim card. His speeches were marked by emotional outbursts and the veteran leader even broke into tears at times.

The BSP and the Congress did not make things easier for Khan when both the parties fielded Muslim candidates in Rampur.

However, the gamble paid off and Tanzeen Fatima won the sympathy and confidence of the voters in Rampur.

For Azam Khan, this victory will go a long way in resurrecting his status as the undisputed leader in Rampur and also give a befitting reply to his detractors, who had written off his political career.

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