By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Enthused by the success in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, opposition parties are working on a formula to field joint candidates against BJP in Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpor Assembly by-elections due on May 28. The by-elections have been necessitated by the death of Hukum Singh in Kairana and BJP MLA Lokendra Singh in a road accident in Sitapur.
Since Kairana is part of western UP with a good presence the Jat community, RLD national president and former union minister Ajit Singh wields a lot of influence in the area. Since BSP is not contesting the by-election it would support the Samajwadi candidate. BSP national president Mayawati is upset with RLD as its MLA did not support the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls recently. So she is not willing to support the RLD candidate.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Choudhry has announced that the party will contest both the seats. While RLD spokesman Anil Dube said that party was keen to contest, the party has not yet taken a final decision. Ajit Singh and son Jayant Choudhry are keen for the party to contest, provided it gets support from all political parties. The recent alliance between Samajwadi Party and BSP has brought the Yadavs, Muslims and Dakota on one platform, which favours the SP on account of the strength of these sections in the electorate. But on the other hand, post-Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013 Muslims were seen confronting Dalits and Jats, which resulted in an erosion of the traditional vote bank of RLD.
In the changed scenario of alliance between SP and BSP, both the parties have gained and a joint opposition candidate could damage the prospects of BJP, which made solid gains in the 2014 Lok Sabah and 2017 assembly polls.
Kairana Lok Seat has 15 lakh voters, out of which 4.75 lakhs are Muslims and 2.5 lakhs SC/ST, 1.5 lakh Jats and 1 lakh Gujars. In the last polls, BJP’s Hukum Singh got 5.65 lakh votes, followed by SP’s Nahid Hasan, who polled 3.29 lakh votes. SP leaders point out that their party candidates had won twice from the constituency and therefore the party has a better chance of winning.
The Noorpur assembly constituency has 2.69 lakh voters and out of these 1.1 lakh are Muslims, followed by 45,000 SCs, 40,000 Thakurs and 13,000 Yadavs. In the 2017 assembly polls, the winning BJP candidate, Lokendra Singh, had got 79,172 votes while the nearest SP candidate polled 66,436 votes.
After the defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections, BJP is taking these polls very seriously to prove that it can retain the number of seats it got in the 2014 Lok Sabah polls.
BJP national President Amit Shah during his recent visit to Lucknow held meetings with chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his ministers as well as senior office-bearers of the party to ensure victory in the by-elections. Outfits of Sangh Parivar have also been asked to send their teams to campaign in these two constituencies. (IPA Service)