Why Kairana Might Be A Tough Battle For BJP 

Why Kairana Might Be A Tough Battle For BJP 

by Swarajya Staff - Monday, May 28, 2018 02:29 PM IST
 Why Kairana Might Be A Tough Battle For BJP Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (Manoj Yadav/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)
  • With the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party backing Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan, the Bharatiya Janata Party definitely doesn’t have it easy in Kairana by-polls today.

The Kairana Lok Sabha constituency is voting in a by-election today. Located in western Uttar Pradesh, it was one of the 71 seats won by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in its sweep of Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, the seat had been won by Hukum Singh. His demise in February this year is what necessitated the by-poll.

In today’s election, the main contest is between the BJP’s Mriganka Singh, and the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Tabassum Hasan. Mriganka Singh is the daughter of the late Hukum Singh, and Tabassum Hasan’s candidature is backed by the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP). To that extent, it is a test of the new found opposition unity, and that in the important state of Uttar Pradesh.

The opposition got a boost when Kanwar Hasan, brother of Tabassum Hasan’s husband, withdrew his candidature, thus reducing the likelihood of the division of minority votes in the constituency.

Kairana is the city which was at the centre of national headline since 2014 with the exodus of many Hindu families out of it. This was forced due to the unrestricted operations of extortion gangs and other criminal elements in the city. However, in 2017, after a change of regime in Lucknow, and crackdown on such syndicates of organised crime, rule of law and normalcy was seen to be returning in Kairana.

If the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha election results are mapped on to the five Assembly constituencies in Kairana, then the BJP won all five of them, two with a vote share of more than 50 per cent. However, in the actual Assembly elections, it lost one seat to the Samajwadi Party. That one seat was Kairana, and the candidate was Mriganka Singh. Though the margin of her loss was only 21,000 votes.

One issue which is likely to influence the minds of many voters here is that of the dues owed to the sugarcane farmers by mill owners. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a speech in neighbouring Baghpat yesterday, assured the farmers that their money is not stuck and that the government is committed to their welfare.

Apart from this, it is speculated that the BJP would be hoping to get through on the basis of Gujjar, Jat, Dalit and Other Backward Class (OBC )votes – an alliance of castes which it appears to have created in 2014 and maintained in 2017. Some reports however indicate that while the Gujjar vote might stay with the BJP, with Mriganka Singh herself being a Gujjar, the Jat vote may shift to the RLD. Assuming that the SP, BSP and Congress are able to both, retrieve and shift their vote to the RLD candidate, Hasan can have good reason to expect support from the Jat, Muslim, Jatav and some OBC communities. That, in turn, implies that Kairana is going to be a tough battle to win for the BJP.

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