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Hukum Singh Now Says Never Raised Kairana Exodus Issue

Distancing himself from the controversy - over the exodus of Hindu families - which he exclusively created, BJP MP from Kairana Hukum Singh on Saturday claimed that he never raised the issue of exodus of any particular community.

Suhas Munshi, Eram Agha

Updated:February 11, 2017, 8:30 PM IST
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Hukum Singh Now Says Never Raised Kairana Exodus Issue
An aerial view of Kairana. It is one of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
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New Delhi: Distancing himself from the controversy - over the exodus of Hindu families - which he exclusively created, BJP MP from Kairana Hukum Singh on Saturday claimed that he never raised the issue of exodus of any particular community.

Talking to a news channel on the morning of the first phase of polls, in which voters in Kairana are also casting their ballots, Singh denied every having raised this issue.

“I never raised the issue of exodus of any particular community. The issue I had raised was just of exodus generally, which was caused because of rising levels of crime in this area. This is a law and order issue and is clearly the fault of the ruling Samajwadi Party government,” Singh told a channel.

After Singh issued a list of 340 Hindu families that he claimed had fled Kairana last year, almost all senior BJP leaders began talking about the ‘exodus’. Investigations carried out by independent agencies, like the National Minority Commission and the local police, had had trashed Singh’s claims.

But in their poll rallies throughout the state, everyone from the party president Amit Shah - who has often talked about the "exodus of people of a particular religion", to the state party chief KP Maurya - who claimed the exodus happened “because of a particular community” - almost every BJP leader kept bringing up ‘exodus’ in the last one year.

Though Singh has been softening his stand on the ‘exodus’ since he first brought it up, by talking about “welfare of everybody”, and even actively pursuing Muslim votes, Saturday’s U turn is bound to surprise many who’ve observed the this controversy unfold in the last one year.

According to local Muslims, the "change of heart" is aimed at wooing Muslims and secular Hindu votes.

Speaking to News 18 Kashif Usmani, former SP district president said, “Hukum Singh has been the MLA from here in the past. He wouldn’t have served seven terms without getting the Muslim votes. This last moment U-turn is to placate them.”

Which may be understandable considering that over 80% of the voters in Kairana are Muslims.

Speaking on why some Muslims have been voting for Singh, Mohammad Shakeb, who works in a consultancy and migrated to Mumbai for better opportunities said, “He has done lot of development work in Kairana. But just before elections Hukum Singh always does something to polarize votes. He had tried to polarise votes in the 2012 assembly elections also.”

Shakeb added that polarisation and exodus story had worried members of Hindu community as well. “ Some members of Hindu samaj visited him from Lucknow last year and expressed their displeasure on this campaign.”

According to a political observer, Nadeem Hasnain, professor, Lucknow University, Singh has dropped the ‘exodus’ poll plank because he understands that polarisation as a political tool is not working this time.

“There are a lot of Hindus in the area who, after Muzaffarnagar and this recent exodus episode, are angry and dissatisfied with the BJP has played polarisation card. All the Muslim labourers from the area have fled and there’s nobody to do their jobs. He’s clearly backtracking because he understands that BJP isn’t going to get as many seats here as they did last time by pitching people against each other.”

Does Hukum Singh’s last minute backtracking from the ‘exodus’ issue indicate a mounting pressure from West UP’s farmers and Muslims? How much of an effect will it have on voters? These are some questions we may find out answers to only on March 11.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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