The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will tread cautiously in the coming bypolls for Kairana (Uttar Pradesh) Lok Sabha seat, following the shocking defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies.
The bypoll has been necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh last month. The Election Commission is likely to issue notification in this regard later.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Hukum Singh had polled 5.65 lakh votes to defeat Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Nahid Hasan by a margin of 2.30 lakh votes.
Nahid Hasan’s uncle Kanwar Hasan had contested the elections on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket and got over 1.60 lakh votes and came third. The Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Kartar Bhadana got over 42,000 votes.
In that election, Hukum Singh had a distinct lead in every Assembly constituency, falling under Kairana, and polled more votes than the SP, BSP and RLD combined. The Congress had left the seat for RLD, with which it had forged an alliance during that election.
However, the recent byelection results in UP have made the BJP cautious. A state BJP leader: “We will introspect where we went wrong in Phulpur and Gorakhpur and take corrective measures in the next bypolls in Kairana. We will review our performance in the recent bypolls. We will have to rework our strategy in the wake of the SP and BSP coming together. It will be a challenge for us if they put up a united fight in Kairana.”
What has worried the BJP is the fact that its vote percentage reduced substantially in five Assembly segments in the 2017 state Assembly elections—there was a drop of 24% votes compared to 2014. In 2017, the combined votes of the SP-Congress alliance, BSP, RLD were more than the BJP candidates in four out of 5 Assembly segments. Hukum Singh gradually started losing grip over his constituency after his election in 2014. Nahid Hasan defeated Singh’s nephew Anil Chauhan in the bypolls for the Kairana Assembly seat and again defeated his daughter Mriganka Singh in the 2017 Assembly elections.
It is speculated that Mriganka Singh may get the ticket from BJP for the byelection.
Observers believe that if the SP, BSP, RLD and Congress join hands, they could be in a position to give a good fight to the BJP. The four-cornered contest may become a straight fight between the BJP and a united Opposition this time, which has forced the BJP to rethink its strategy.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Hukum Singh was defeated by Tabassum Begum, wife of Munawwar Hasan, after his untimely death. However, Singh won the seat in 2014, riding the Narendra Modi wave.