Sana Khanam, who was fielded by her husband and AAP functionary Mamoon Shah, created history by winning the Rampur Municipal seat, a stronghold of Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan for 20 years in the Uttar Pradesh urban local body polls.
Khanam’s achievement on Saturday occurred a month after her husband, a former Congress leader, got married to her within two days of discovering that the seat he was intending to contest in Rampur was reserved for women. Prior to this, the 45-year-old Mamun Shah Khan had been a confirmed bachelor and was poised to contest in the Rampur Municipal seat until the reservation was revealed.
Khanam emerged victorious in the recent elections with 43,121 votes, defeating Mashrat Mujib from the BJP (32,173 votes) and Fatma Jabin from the SP (16,273 votes) to become the new chairperson of Rampur Nagar Palika Parishad.
Shah had been associated with the Congress party for 25 years, starting from the Youth Congress to reaching the city committee. However, he left the party just before his marriage on April 15 and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) along with his wife on the following day.
Shah told TOI on Saturday, “For years I’d worked hard among people as a social worker and this time decided to take a plunge into active politics. But at the last moment, the seat which I aspired for, was reserved for women.”
After marriage, the couple initially faced obstacles. “The Congress party denied the ticket to a newcomer,” Shah added. “But as I believe, everything is predetermined… My well-wisher and friend Faisal Lala (AAP’s district president in Rampur) offered my wife the AAP platform, and we agreed.”
Throughout the election campaign, locals referred to the couple as “newlyweds,” and Sana was known as the “nayi naveli dulhan” or newlywed bride, as per a report by the Indian Express.
“I have no hesitation in admitting that this is a victory for Mamoon Sahab, who is a known face in Rampur. My victory also indicates that it’s time for change in Rampur. Marriages are certainly made in heaven. With his (Mamoon’s) cooperation, I would lead the region to development,” Khanam told The Sunday Express.
According to Faizal Khan Lala, former Congress leader who joined AAP and is now its state spokesperson, “Mamoon Shah is a familiar face in Rampur. He wanted to contest the seat on a Congress ticket, but when it was reserved for women, he was advised to get married and field his wife instead. He approached us and asked if we would field his wife if he got married, and we agreed.”
With inputs from News18