UP by-polls victory to spur Oppn unity

Rashtriya Janata Dal supporters celebrate after their party's victory at Jokihat Assembly by-elections, in Patna on Thursday. PTI

The massive victory of the Opposition in 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 BSP and boost efforts to form a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh in 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 had 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.

Although it was the Rashtriya Lok Dal which had contested from Kairana, its nominee Tabassum Hasan was an SP leader and she had the support of the BSP and Congress as well.

"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 a double-digit in UP," said a senior SP leader while speaking to DH here on Thursday.

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 the threats from Muslims in election rallies in a bid to polarise the polls.

"The BJP tried its best to polarise the polls... the results have shown that it may not succeed in doing so in 2019 also," said political analyst and 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 polls; even party president Ajit Singh had lost the Jat-dominated Baghpat, an RLD stronghold.

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UP by-polls victory to spur Oppn unity

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