The strategically crucial region, with a polarising factor between the Jats and Muslims, will be a laboratory of all the caste and community politics for both the BJP and the joint Opposition.
Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party-RLD combine have announced their candidates for politically crucial Kairana bypolls, necessitated after the death of BJP stalwart Hukum Singh. The strategically crucial region, with a polarising factor between the Jats and Muslims, will be a laboratory of all the caste and community politics for both the BJP and the joint Opposition. In the last elections, Hukum Singh had defeated his rival, SP’s Nahad Hassan, then only 26, by more than 2.5 lakh votes. This time, the RLD has fielded Tabassum Hassan, Nahad’s mother and a former MP from the seat.
Though the margin was huge in the elections, the prospects of a victory for the BJP, which has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of Lt. Hukum Singh, look tough. This is due to several evident factors. First is the unprecedented show of Opposition unity. Tabbasum Hassan, originally a Samajwadi Party leader, is fighting on an RLD ticket. While the Congress, and the BSP – two other parties which could have cut into Hassan’s Muslim vote bank, have not fielded their candidates. The BSP is said to openly support the SP once again.
The other factor which may play its role is former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh’s legacy here. Singh, a stalwart farmer leader from the Jat community, had a strong grip over the region. During his era, Singh had formulated an AJGAR – Ahir, Jat, Gujjar and Rajput castes. Later, the former PM added an ‘M’ for Muslims in this group and the formula turned into MAJGAR. These caste groups put together made Charan Singh an unbeatable force in the region. Charan Singh’s son, Chaudhary Ajit Singh, won many elections in the region using the same. However, in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly, Ajit’s RLD was decimated to Nil and 1 seat respectively.
For the BJP, the battle is more about Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the party’s own prestige by large. The chief minister, who faced embarrassment after the recent Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha election defeats, will try tooth and nail to secure the seat earlier held by his party. If he loses, party’s tally will be reduced to 68 seats in the elections.
In 2016, then MP Hukum Singh said had alleged that 250 Hindu families from Kairana had vacated their village in the Muslim-dominated district. Later in 2017, the BJP raised the issue during the elections and targetted government of siding with a particular community.
A victory or the defeat here will also decide if the BJP’s majoritarianism formula of 2014 and 2017, where the prime minister and party chief successfully brought together most sub-sections of Hindu community, is still working for it or not. It will also indicate various aspects about arithmetic to be followed in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.