Lucknow: Tabassum Hasan, whose victory in Kairana has given strength to opposition unity in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 general election, on Thursday became the first Muslim MP from the most populous state in the 16th Lok Sabha.
Hasan (48) defeated her nearest BJP rival Mriganka Singh by a huge margin of over 46,000 votes as the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate supported by the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The opposition also won the Noorpur assembly seat, where SP's Naimul Hasan defeated the BJP candidate.
Uttar Pradesh, which has Muslim population of about 20 per cent, elected no Muslim MP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal won 73 in the 2014 elections. The SP got five seats and the Congress just two.
"My success is the victory of people of the state who have shown that they have stood up against the four-year-old misrule of the BJP," Tabassum Hasan said after her resounding victory.
"Had there be no EVM problem, my victory margin would have been more," she said referring to the complaints against electronic voting machines.
"I was confident of my victory as I had faith in the people," she said.
Hasan claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have no impact in next year's Lok Sabha polls.
"The BJP's arrogant people say there is no alternative to Modi, but the Almighty always finds a way out and the alliance of opposition parties will come out triumphant against the BJP in 2019.
"My victory has proved that the path of the united opposition is clear in 2019," she said.
Hasan took a plunge into politics in the 2009 Lok Sabha election on a BSP ticket, months after the death of her husband Munawwar Hasan in a car crash in Haryana and defeated BJP candidate Hukum Singh.
In 2014, her son Nahid Hasan fought the election on a SP ticket against Hukum Singh but was defeated.
Nahid won the UP assembly polls in 2017 against Hukum Singh's daughter Mriganka.
Kairana LS constituency has 16 lakh voters of whom Muslims account for a major chunk of five lakh voters. Dalits and Jats have two lakh voters each. Another major chunk is that of Gurjars who constitute one lakh voters.
The Kairana seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka was the party candidate this time.
In Kairana, the opposition consolidated the anti-BJP vote and repeated its success in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bye-elections earlier this year when the ruling party suffered humiliating defeats.
Bye-elections were held for Gorakhpur and Phulpur in March as the seats fell vacant when UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya resigned after entering the UP legislative council.
The ruling BJP had campaigned hard in Kairana with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself wooing voters. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati stayed away from the campaigning.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited a neighbouring district, Baghpat, where he talked about development of western UP and also inaugurated the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, but voters appeared to have already made up their mind to back the opposition.
"The victory has sent a strong message to voters and party workers. The anti-people policies of the BJP stand exposed and voters are looking for an alternative," SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said.
RLD national spokesman Anil Dubey said, "This victory is not of our party alone, but of the united opposition. With this victory we succeeded in uniting the society which the BJP attempted to fragment with its divisive politics."
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said the BJP does not dabble in the politics of victory or defeat.
"We believe in working for development and we don't want to contest elections on communal or caste lines," he said, accusing the opposition of spreading the venom of communalism and casteism to win elections by hook or by crook.
The Kairana election is the fourth Lok Sabha bye-election in the state since 2014.
Apart from Gorakhpur and Phulpur, a bye-election was also held in Mainpuri in 2014.
SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had resigned from Mainpuri after deciding to represent Azamgarh, the second constituency from which he won in 2014.
SP's Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is related to him, defeated the BJP there in that bye-election, retaining the seat for his party.