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Kairana Lok Sabha Bypoll to be Held on May 28, Jats May Prove to be Kingmakers

Jats and Gujjars are the two of the largest chunks of voters in Kairana. While BJP leaders are confident that Gujjar voters will stick with the BJP out of sympathy for deceased MP Hukum Singh, a Gujjar, the Jat voter could prove to be the kingmakers.

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Updated:April 26, 2018, 5:44 PM IST
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Kairana Lok Sabha Bypoll to be Held on May 28, Jats May Prove to be Kingmakers
Picture for Representation.
Lucknow: The Election Commission has announced that the by-election to the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh last February, will be held on May 28 and the counting of votes will be done on May 31. The bypoll to to the Noorpur Legislative Assembly seat will also be held on the same dates. It had fallen vacant in February when sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh died in a car accident.

The announcement of dates came after Uttar Pradesh chief electoral officer L Venkateshwar Lu visited Saharanpur and Shamli district for the poll process. Kairana parliamentary constituency comprises five assembly segments, three in Shamli and two in Saharanpur district.

Jats and Gujjars are the two of the largest chunks of voters in Kairana. While BJP leaders are confident that Gujjar voters will stick with the BJP out of sympathy for deceased MP Hukum Singh, a Gujjar, the Jat voter could prove to be the kingmakers. After losses in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, BJP leaders don’t want to leave any stone unturned this time.

Communal tensions in Kairana have been high ever since 2016, after Hukum Singh alleged that 250 Hindu families had fled Kairana in a “mass exodus” over the last few years due to “pressure from another community”. Singh went as far as to claim that Kairana was becoming “another Kashmir” with Hindu families fleeing.

While the BJP leadership endorsed his claims, the district administration and the ruling Samajwadi Party had vehemently denied them. According to the local administration, “only three families” had left Kairana due to “worsening law and order”.

Singh, however, received a huge fillip after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) vindicated his claims and held riot-refugees responsible for altering the demographics of the small town. This had led to a disagreement between the NHRC and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which held that the reports of an ‘exodus’ were exaggerated.

Singh was also accused of nepotism and lobbying for his daughter Mriganka Singh, who contested and lost the 2017 UP Assembly polls from the Kairana Assembly seat.

According to election commission sources, the EC has established 883 polling centres in the five assembly constituencies of Shamli, Thanabhawan, Kairana (all in Shamli district) and Gangoh and Nukar in Saharanpur district. 16,095,80 voters including 7,36,420 women would exercise their franchise in the coming bypoll.

Political parties including BJP, SP, RLD and Congress have already started their poll preparations. On Wednesday, state president of Samajwadi Party, Naresh Uttam Patel visited Kairana and asked the party workers to be ready for the polls. Ruling BJP ministers have also been visiting the constituency.

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