BJP’s stunning victories in Lok Sabha byelections in Rampur, with over 50% Muslim population, and Azamgarh, with over 40% Muslim-Yadav population, signify deeper shifts. If pollsters were to bet on the most unlikely seats for BJP, Rampur and Azamgarh would rank among the very top. Their demographics have long put them at the heart of SP’s core political matrix. Which is why Azamgarh served as Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 and Akhilesh Yadav’s in 2019.
Even three months ago, when Yogi Adityanath became the first full-term UP CM to return to office since Independence, SP had won all 10 assembly segments in Azamgarh. Yet this red cap bastion has now fallen to BJP.
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This article was first published on The Times of India | June 27, 2022