The Kairana parliamentary bye-election was considered by many as a prelude to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
From Gorakhpur and Phulpur in the east to Kairana in the west, the ruling BJP has let another Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh slip away to the opposition in a bypoll, the result of which was declared today. In Kairana, the joint opposition candidate, RLD’s Tabassum Hasan, romped home by a massive margin of over 44,600 votes defeating her nearest BJP rival Mriganka Singh, whose father’s death necessitated the bye-election in the politically crucially state.
In the process, the opposition scored a hat-trick this year — winning the Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur, earlier represented by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Phulpur, which was held by his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, and now Kairana, won by another BJP MP Hukum Singh in 2014. The Kairana outcome coupled with the result of the assembly bye-election in nearby Noorpur sent out a message barely months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that opposition unity can demolish the BJP, which had won 73 of the 80 UP Lok Sabha seats along with its ally in 2014.
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The Kairana parliamentary bypoll was the fourth Lok Sabha bye-election in the state since 2014, and the BJP has failed to win any of them. In 2018, the saffron party has lost all three Lok Sabha bypolls held in the state including Kairana. Apart from Gorakhpur and Phulpur, a bye-election was also held in Mainpuri in 2014. Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had resigned from Mainpuri after deciding to represent Azamgarh, the second constituency from which he won in 2014. SP’s Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is related to him, defeated the BJP candidate there in that bye-election, retaining the seat for his party.
A number of assembly bye-elections were also held in UP from 2014 to 2017. The BJP managed to win some of these seats, but when it came to parliamentary bye-elections, the party could not break the jinx. In the 2017 UP assembly elections, the BJP and its allies registered a massive win bagging 325 out of 403 seats, while the Samajwadi Party was able to win only 47 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party 19 and the Congress seven. BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) won nine seats, while another partner, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party got four in the 2017 state elections.
The Kairana parliamentary bye-election was considered by many as a prelude to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka Singh was the BJP candidate. She was fighting against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan, who was also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Just ahead of the polls, Lok Dal candidate Kanwar Hasan retired from the contest in Hasan’s favour and joined the RLD, further boosting her chances. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had campaigned hard for Kairana. It had hoped to send a strong message to voters, party workers as well as the opposition parties that the drubbing it got in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bye-elections was an aberration and that it is very much a force to reckon with in western UP.