High stakes for BJP in Kairana bypoll

Stung by the reverses in the recent byelections to 11 Assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made the forthcoming bypoll to the  Kairana Assembly seat in Shamli district in the state a “prestige issue”.

The BJP won the seat in the 2012 Assembly elections. The bypoll, slated for October 15, was necessitated after BJP legislator Hukum Singh resigned from the seat after being elected to the Lok Sabha.

The saffron party, which suffered a serious setback in the recent bypolls, losing eight of the ten seats it held to the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), has put in everything it has at its disposal to retain the Kairana seat.

“We have asked party leaders of all the major communities to camp in the constituency till the poll is over. It is a prestige fight for us. A win here will certainly mitigate, even if partially, the losses suffered in the bypolls,” said a senior state BJP leader here.

“A loss in Kairana will further demoralise the workers. It is a must win situation for us,” the leader went on to add.

The two controversial and Muzaffarnagar riot accused BJP legislators Suresh Rana and Sangeet Som have also been “active” in the constituency which lies very close to Muzaffarnagar.

The BJP has made Hukum Singh’s nephew Anil Chauhan its nominee from the seat while the SP and Congress have fielded Muslim nominees.

The SP was eyeing the sizable Muslim and Jat votes. The BJP nominee is from the  Gujjar community. “In the recent bypolls the Jats had supported us in large numbers...they will support us here as well,” said an SP leader here.

The BJP central leadership has already hinted at a major shake-up in the state leadership.

BJP had lost eight Assembly seats to Samajwadi Party (SP) in the recent bypolls including many of its strongholds in the western region. The loss of the Rohaniya Assembly seat, which was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, came as the biggest humiliation for the saffron party, which had, barely four months back swept the state in the Lok Sabha elections.

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