Mohsin Raza, the lone Muslim face in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet, was on Monday elected unopposed to the Vidhan Parishad, the Upper House of the Uttar Pradesh legislature.
The 49-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was among the four other state cabinet members, including Yogi, who had been nominated by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to contest the recent Vidhan Parishad
polls to fill five vacant seats.
While Adityanath, two deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, apart from UP transport minister Swatantra Dev Singh were declared elected unopposed to the Upper House on September 8, Raza was given the certificate of the election this afternoon.
However, the membership term of Raza, who is the UP minister of state for Waqf, would be of about eight months only, since the Vidhan Parishad
seat, he had contested on, was vacated by the previous member when only eight months had remained for next election.
UP is among the few Indian states, which follows bicameral legislature comprising two houses viz. Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad.
The term of a Vidhan Parishad
member is six years and a third of these seats witness polling or nomination every two years by rotation.
During the 2017 UP poll, BJP had not fielded any Muslim candidate on any of the 403 seats the party or its allies had contested in the state. However, BJP and allies went on to collectively bag 325 seats and overthrow the erstwhile ruling Samajwadi Party government from power.
The lanky Raza has played Cricket, dabbled in modelling and acting, apart from being a TV cricket commentator in his eventful life. In the past, he had also been associated with Congress, before it ended on a rather sour note.
In 2010, he even floated his own political outfit, but it turned out to be a damp squib. However, in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, Raza joined BJP. Soon enough, he became the much needed Muslim face of BJP in UP and was anointed as party spokesperson in 2016.
When Yogi took oath as the 21st CM of UP on March 19, 2017, Raza was inducted as a minister in his council of ministers.
A member of the council of ministers, including CM, is required to get elected to either of the two houses viz. Vidhan Sabha or Vidhan Parishad
within six months of assuming office. Since, Yogi's council of ministers had taken oath on March 19, 2017, the five ministers, including Yogi, were required to become members of the legislature by September 18.
Over the past few weeks, six UP Members of Legislative Council (MLCs) had resigned from their seats, necessitating this poll. These included five Samajwadi Party (SP) members viz. Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh, Sarojini Agarwal, Ashok Bajpai and Ambika Chaudhary, apart from a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLC Thakur Jaivir Singh.