UP By-Polls: In Kairana and Noorpur, It’s United Opposition Versus BJP Again

After the Gorakhpur-Phulpur by-polls, the ruling BJP will face another tough battle against the opposition alliance of SP and RLD, with support from BSP and Congress.

Yogi Adityanath
In the upcoming by-elections in Uttar Pradesh at the Lok Sabha constituency of Kairana and the assembly constituency of Noorpur, scheduled for 28 May, the fight is between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the united alliance of opposition parties — the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). This alliance of opposition parties includes support from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress.

Apart from these two seats, the election commission will be conducting by-polls on the same day for three more Lok Sabha seats and nine more assembly seats in various states.

For the Kairana Member of Parliament (MP) seat, the BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of late MP Hukum Singh, against the RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan. For the Noorpur Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) seat, the BJP candidate Avani Singh is pitted against SP’s Naim-ul-Hasan. The two seats fell vacant this February with the sudden demise of Kairana’s BJP MP Hukum Singh, who died due to prolonged illness, and Noorpur’s BJP MLA Lokendra Singh, who died in a road accident.

The Uttar Pradesh by-polls are have drawn attention, more so because these elections are being held after the by-polls for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, where the BJP lost. Both the seats had been vacated by the BJP’s top ranks — Gorakhpur by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Phulpur by deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. In both seats, the SP-BSP alliance candidates comfortably defeated the BJP candidates in March this year.

Kairana Lok Sabha Constituency
In 2014 general elections, Hukum Singh emerged victorious by getting more than 50 per cent of the votes that were polled in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency. However, in the 2017 assembly elections, the saffron party’s vote share fell to 38.24 per cent, although the party won four out of five assembly segments of the Lok Sabha constituency. In one Kairana assembly constituency, Tabassum Hasan’s son and SP candidate Nahid Hasan won against the BJP. Tabassum Hasan was the BSP MP from Kairana from 2009 to 2014 before she migrated to the SP. Under a pact between the SP and the RLD, Tabassum has recently taken the primary membership of the RLD and is contesting the election with the RLD symbol.

Historically, caste and farmer’s mandate have been the two main factors impacting Kairana’s electoral outcome. A closer look at these factors suggests the RLD candidate’s upper hand over the BJP.  Of nearly 16 lakh voters in the constituency, 5.5 lakh are Muslims, 2.5 lakh are Dalits (mostly Jatavs), 1.5 lakh are Jats, 2 lakh are Kashyaps, 1.4 lakh are Gujjars, 1.2 lakh are Saini and the remaining are constituted by voters from the communities of Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs.

While the RLD and  the BSP have a stronghold on Jats and Dalits, respectively, the BJP is aiming for the upper castes — the vote banks of Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs and that of the Gujjars. Both Mriganka Singh and Tabassum are Gujjars, except that the former is Hindu and the latter is Muslim.

On the other side, considering the BJP’s track record in fomenting communal riots in the region, the majority Muslim vote bank nonetheless could choose against the BJP.

Sugarcane cultivation being a predominant occupation in the constituency, the opposition parties are alleging that the government failed to clear the pending farmer’s dues with the sugar mills. All the six sugar mills in the constituency, which reportedly bought sugarcane worth Rs 1,778.49 crore at the UP government’s State Advised Price (SAP) of Rs 315-325 per quintal, have pending arrears (yet to be paid) of Rs 807.22 crore, as of 18 May.

Even though the winning candidate would serve as MP for less than a year, the electoral outcome is crucial for both the BJP and the opposition parties for deciding upon their tactics for the upcoming 2019 general elections.

Noorpur Assembly Constituency
In 2017 Noorpur assembly elections, BJP candidate Lokendra Singh secured 79,172 votes and won over SP’s candidate Naim Ul Hasan, who got 66,436 votes. However, with the BSP and the RJD parties having strong base in the constituency, the re-contesting united opposition candidate Naim-ul-Hasam has more chances of emerging victorious. Of the total 3 lakh voters, an estimated 1.15 lakh voters are Muslims. This is followed by 50,000 Dalits, 40,000 from the Chauhan community, 20,000 from the Saini community, 15,000 from the Jat community, 10,000 from the Paal community while about 6,000 voters are Yadavs.

Courtesy: Newsclick.in




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