Uttar Pradesh 2017

Luck smiles on Lucknow’s Raza

The former cricketer is lone Muslim Minister in Yogi Adityanath’s Cabinet

The BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections but has now picked a member from the minority community in its Council of Ministers led by Yogi Adityanath.

Mohsin Raza, a former cricketer from Lucknow, took oath as a Minister of State on Sunday.

A member of the minuscule but influential Shia community, Mr. Raza does not hold any political office. He appears as a BJP panellist in television debates.

Born in 1968, Mr. Raza hails from a prominent family of landowners in Shafipur in Unnao, adjoining the State capital. He studied at the government jubilee inter college before pursuing higher education at Lucknow University.

He has played first-class cricket, representing Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy and has been active in promoting the sport in the State.

Mr. Raza holds the post of president of the Lucknow Cricket Hostel, which was established in 1989 to provide better coaching and facilities to budding players.

Socialite image

Little known in State politics, he enjoys the image of the socialite in Lucknow, and had tried his luck at modelling and acting in the past. Mr. Raza’s father-in-law runs one of the oldest crockery shops in Lucknow —Azim Ali and Sons.

He first emerged on the political scene in 2013 when he put up posters supporting the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Mr. Raza had a short stint as an office-bearer of the Congress’ sports cell. His brother Arshi Raza is also a former cricketer and associated with the Congress.

The family enjoys a good rapport with Union Minister Rajnath Singh, who is Lucknow MP.

Mr. Raza is not the first Muslim to be nominated a minister under a BJP government. Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh had appointed senior journalist Aizad Rizvi as a minister in 1991 by getting him elected to the Legislative Council.

Mr. Rizvi’s daughter Sheema Rizvi was appointed a minister when the BJP led by Ram Prakash Gupta ruled again in 1999.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 12:10:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-2017/luck-smiles-on-lucknows-raza/article17546566.ece

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