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UP Polls: BJP’s Hindutva Poster Boys Sangeet Som, Suresh Rana are Keeping Kairana, Muzaffarnagar Riots on Top of Recall

Sangeet Som is contesting the upcoming UP elections from Sardhana seat, while Suresh Rana is the BJP candidate from Thana Bhawan. (File Photos)

Sangeet Som is contesting the upcoming UP elections from Sardhana seat, while Suresh Rana is the BJP candidate from Thana Bhawan. (File Photos)

Uttar Pradesh elections 2022: Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, named in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, have been attacking Akhilesh Yadav for favouring one community over the other, but have avoided making inflammatory remarks.

Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, two of BJP’s Hindutva faces, are leading the campaign for the saffron party in the religiously divided region of western Uttar Pradesh ahead of Assembly elections 2022. And on the target is Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and his “politics of appeasement”.

Both Som and Rana, named in Muzaffarnagar riots that shook the region in 2013, are attacking Akhilesh Yadav for favouring one particular community but are avoiding making inflammatory remarks. Known as the Jat belt, western UP witnessed horrific communal riots in 2013 that pitted Jats against Muslims.

Their pitch, rather, is ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ to avoid consolidation of Muslim votes. However, both don’t forget to rake up gory scenes of the alleged Kairana exodus, telling people what would it mean if the SP government returns.

Sangeet Som is a two-time sitting MLA from Sardhana and comes from an affluent Thakur family. Suresh Rana is a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government and also a two-time MLA from Thana Bhawan constituency. Both leaders have significant Muslim population in their constituencies.

‘Responsibility to Keep Hindus Safe’

‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ is emerging as a favourite among BJP candidates. However, for Sangeet Som, who is also BJP’s Sardhana candidate, it comes with a rider.

“Our issue is ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’. But it is also our responsibility to ensure that Hindus remain safe. Everyone should be safe. In Akhilesh’s tenure, only one community was safe and not Hindus,” says Som.

The BJP MLA claims victory in ensuring that “topiwala Akhilesh” and “gamchha topiwala Rahul Gandhi” are going to the temple.

Ask Som about the Hindutva pitch and pat comes the reply: “Do you think Meerut-Delhi highway is used by Hindus only or the schemes launched by the government have beneficiaries that are only Hindus? We don’t discriminate but we don’t appease like Akhilesh Yadav,” says the BJP leader.

Sangeet Som at Baba Statue in Bisola village. (Pragya Kaushika/News18.com)

Sources in the party believe that while it is a fact that everyone benefitted from the government schemes, ‘Sabka Vishwas’ is important to ensure that Muslim votes don’t consolidate as it can tip the balance in favour of the Opposition.

Rana says the BJP doesn’t believe in appeasement and that constructing the Kailash Mansarovar house was as important as the construction of the Haj house.

“They stopped Kanwar Yatra, we did pushp varsha on them. DJ bhi baja. CM Yogi understands people’s sentiments. That is why the Kanwar Yatra was taken out with fanfare. Muharram procession too was allowed. Everyone should feel safe. Woh (SP) Jinnah wale hain. Jinnah unka hai, ganna hamara hai (They are for Jinnah, we are for sugarcane farmers). They can do anything for votes. They can shoot Ram bhakts as well,” says Rana.

Echoes of Kairana

Suresh Rana, BJP candidate from Thana Bhawan, is also cane development minister in the Yogi Adityanath government. He invokes Kairana in his interactions and does not forget mentioning the visits of Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath to meet those who had migrated and came back.

Rana says Kairana is a sentimental issue and those who had migrated have scars similar to those who saw Partition.

Suresh Rana campaigned in the Jat-dominated Naunangli village in his Thana Bhawan constituency. (Pragya Kaushika/News18.com)

“Farmers featured in SP’s agenda when they got 12,000 cases registered against them during Muzaffarnagar riots. They looked at the voters’ list and named people. Youngsters’ lives were ruined. Samajwadis have expertise in igniting riots. Under their government, the state witnessed 400 riots. Everyone was afraid to step out of their homes. Kairana was burning and as a result, people migrated. It is Yogi who ensured security to the people.”

The region was witness to an outbreak of communal violence in 2013 ahead of last Assembly polls. Predicting the upcoming poll result, Sangeet Som says the people have decided to keep Akhilesh Yadav out of power.

“Be it Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Khatauli or Sardhana, every person knows that if Yadav comes back, Kairana would be the same Kairana where goons locked chowkis and people had to migrate because of fear,” warns Som.

Rana, meanwhile, has a take on SP’s “love for Pakistan”. “They have now found a new relationship with Jinnah. Those who have felt pangs of Partition shiver hearing Jinnah’s name,” he says.

Law and Order

BJP candidates and leaders in Uttar Pradesh elections 2022 have raked up the issue of local mafia and goonda elements in each of their speeches. Local anecdotes, which have mass appeal among people, are often used.

During a speech, Sangeet Som was quick to point out that ever since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power, women and girls were safe in UP and no goondas can flourish in the state. “Earlier they used to lock up police chowkis and now they roam around with placards hanging by the neck. Baba has tightened everyone,” said the MLA while addressing a crowd at Bisola village in Sardhana constituency.

The BJP MLA also reminded the Dalit population in the village that it was the Yadavs who “tried to kill” Mayawati, recalling the infamous guesthouse episode of 1995.

Sources said it is part of the BJP’s strategy to ensure that people are reminded of the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh before 2017 under the Samajwadi party regime.

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