The BJP's ally Apna Dal (S) has announced its first candidate for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. The candidate, Haider Ali Khan, is from Suar in western Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district, from where Abdullah Azam, the son of jailed Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan is expected to contest.
The announcement came despite no official word on seat-sharing arrangement between the BJP and its alliance partners - Apna Dal (S) of Anupriya Patel and Nishad party of Sanjay Nishad.
Haider Khan's candidature from a BJP ally is among the rare instances of the BJP alliance fielding a Muslim candidate for the UP election.
Mr Khan is from the Rampur Royal family, his grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Khan was a five-term Congress MP from Rampur. Haider's father, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, is a four-term MLA who as of now is the Congress candidate from Rampur which is a seat located next to Suar
The Apna Dal (S) candidate has been in the news for U-turns. He was first named the Congress candidate from Suar constituency. Later he went to Delhi and met Anupriya Patel, who has now officially named him as her party's candidate from Suar.
Abdullah Azam contested the 2017 Assembly election from Suar as a Samajwadi Party candidate and won. In December 2019, the Allahabad High Court canceled Mr Abdullah's election victory on the grounds that he was below 25 when he filed his nomination for the 2017 elections.
Since February 2020, Mr Abdullah was in jail on multiple charges including cheating. He got bail a few days ago and is most likely to be fielded by the Samajwadi Party from Suar this time.
Abdullah's father Azam Khan is the current Lok Sabha MP from Rampur and has also been in jail since February 2020 in various cases.
Azam Khan has approached the Supreme Court seeking interim bail to campaign in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
In his plea, he said that the state has "adopted all means available" to delay the proceedings on his three remaining bail applications to ensure that he remains incarcerated during the state assembly elections set to be held in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to March 7 and can't campaign for his party.