The Kairana constituency is one of the most talked-about constituencies ever since the 2013 riots in Uttar Pradesh. It will go for by-elections on May 28 after the death of BJP’s sitting MP, Hukum Singh, early this year. The BJP won it in 2014 amidst the ‘Modi wave’. BJP’s Hukum Singh easily managed to defeat SP’s Nahid Hasan with a heavy margin of over 2.5 lakh votes.
However, this time, the BJP seems to be in an all-new pitch, with the opposition parties joining hands to fight the BJP in its own backyard. The SP, BSP and RLD have come together and have given a ticket to Tabassum Hasan, wife of former MP and MLA, Munawwar Hasan. The makeshift alliance is eyeing Muslim and Jat votes, who have quite the presence in the area. On the other hand, the BJP is banking on sympathy, and has given the ticket to Singh’s daughter, Mriganka Singh, who lost the 2017 assembly elections to Hasan’s son, Nahid Hasan.
The elections will be fought on many issues. While addressing a gathering in Shamli, Yogi Adityanath has given a call for Hindus to unite. However, with Muslims contributing over 30% (nearly 36%) of the total voters in the area, the alliance has already played a trump card by fielding Hasan Furthermore, the Rashtriya Lok Dal would work to woo the Jat voters who nearly 1.6 lakh in this constituency of around 15.5 lakh voters.
However, apart from these caste and religion dynamics, there are many other things to look out for in Kairana.
1. Sympathy vs Anti-Incumbency
Many political pundits have criticised the BJP’s move of nominating Singh’s daughter who lost the 2017 assembly elections. Very few of them have given an edge to the BJP mainly because they are targeting and banking on sympathy voters after the death of Hukum Singh. It will be quite interesting to see whether the grand alliance and the anti-incumbency factor really affect the BJP.
2. Inefficiency of the Sangh Parivar in mobilisation during bypolls:
Be it in Phulpur in the Allahabad district, or Araria in Bihar, the Sangh Parivar has completely failed to mobilise the voters in their fold, especially during some of the last rounds of election campaigning. This is very unlike its performance during the general elections.
It will be interesting to see if the Sangh takes this up as a challenge in Kairana.
Caste and religion dynamics:
The caste dynamics in this area is quite interesting. Here, in this constituency of around 16 lakh voters, we can see 5.46 lakh Muslim voters who will be expected to vote against the Sangh Parivar. But then again, the Parivar party may also be enjoying the support of about 7o% of the voters, in the form of the Gujjars, the Brahmins, the Vaish and some other sections of the population.
The votes from the non-Yadav OBCs and the non-Jatav SCs may also be crucial as the communities comprise of about 50% of the total voters in the area.
Practically speaking, everything depends on the percentage of polled votes. In my opinion, anything over 60% would open a big gateway for the ‘by-poll chokers’, BJP. Apart from all these, the Jat and SC votes in this area can also mark a huge difference.
The late deciders :
Many people consider the polls as the quarter final before the 2019 general election. In this context, the ‘late deciders’ in these polls became very important. However, I think that while the general election results are generally largely affected by large public meetings and big campaigns, all of these will probably be insignificant during the by-elections here. So, it will be crucial to see the factors that will turn out to be the ‘late deciders’ and when the shift takes place.
The political family edge:
Both candidates aren’t new to politics.
Previously, Tabassum Hasan was an MP from Kairana in 2009, while also being the wife of former MP and MLA, Munawwar Hasan. Her son, Nahid Hasan, is currently an MLA. On the other hand, BJP’s Mriganka Singh is the daughter of former Kairana MP, Hukum Singh. She had lost to Nahid Hasan in the 2017 UP state assembly elections.
In my opinion, the one thing that can turn out to be a real bone of contention for the alliance is the issue of Muslim votes. Will they come out to vote in large numbers in the sweltering heat, and especially since it’s the month of Ramadan? Will the alliance pay dearly for its over-dependence on Muslim votes? It will certainly be interesting to see how things unfold.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.