UP by-poll win will spur opposition unity

UP by-poll win will spur opposition unity

RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan with her supporters outside a counting centre after winning the Kairana Lok Sabha by-polls, on Thursday. PTI

The massive victory of the Opposition in the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly by-polls would go a long way in cementing the new-found bonhomie between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

This would boost their efforts to form a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 general elections to counter the BJP.

It would also drastically change the electoral equations in the 'Jat' belt of Western Uttar Pradesh, which has been swept by the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, riding the Modi wave.

It may also spur the already prevailing "unease" among the saffron party's alliance partners in the state and prompt them to look for new electoral friends.

Though it was the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) which contested from Kairana, its nominee Tabassum Hasan was an SP leader and she had the support of the BSP and Congress too.

"Kairana was the real test of Opposition unity... We were not sure if the message of unity would percolate down to the ground level... the win has proved that a united Opposition may make the BJP struggle to reach double-digit in UP," remarked a senior SP leader while speaking to DH.

The results of Kairana and Noorpur have also indicated a change in the electoral equations in the western region in the state. The 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots had demolished the decades-old bonhomie between the 'Jats' and the Muslims and the resultant polarisation helped the BJP make a clean sweep of the region in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

In fact, BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had referred to the riots and the alleged large-scale migration of Hindus from Kairana following threats from Muslims, in their election rallies in a bid to polarise the polls.

"The BJP tried its best to polarise the polls... other results have shown that it may not succeed in doing so in 2019 also," said political analyst-cum-journalist Sharat Pradhan.

The Kairana result has also given a fresh lease of life to the RLD which had drawn a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and even its president Ajit Singh had lost in its stronghold of 'Jat' dominated Baghpat.

The by-poll results could also spur the "unease" among the saffron party's alliance partners, especially the Suheldev Bharat Samaj Party (SBSP), whose president and minister Om Prakash Rajbhar had been attacking the state government on various fronts.