Kairana bye-election: Jolt to BJP; Kanwar Hasan of Lok Dal pulls out of bypoll, supports United opposition

Kairana bye-election 2018: Already facing a tough contest, Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday suffered a setback in poll-bound Kairana, a crucial western UP constituency going to polls on May 28. The setback came as Kanwar Hasan, a Lok Dal candidate with sizeable support among Muslims in the area, decided to withdraw his nomination and extend his support to Tabassum Hasan, his sister-in-law and the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate. Tabassum is originally a Samajwadi Party candidate, fighting elections on an RLD ticket. The leader has already got the support of Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party. Kanwars decision is set to unite the minority votes in favour of RLD and make the battle tough for Mriganka Singh, the BJP candidate and daughter of Late Hukum Singh, whose death necessitated the bye-election. Tabassum is a former MP and wife of Munawwar Hasan, former strongman MP from the constituency who died in a road accident. It was expected that Kanwars candidature would deal fatal blows to Opposition unity and benefit the BJP. Kairana is a communally sensitive constituency of western-Uttar Pradesh and the election is being touted as a battle of prestige between the Adityanath-led BJP and joint opposition, anchored by former CM Akhilesh Yadav. On one hand, the joint Opposition – Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress – are trying tooth and nails to prove that victory in Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypolls wasnt a fluke, on the other, CM Adityanath has to prove his mettle in the largest state of the country. Hukum Singh, the deceased MP from the constituency, had won the elections by a huge margin in 2014. In 2017 Assembly elections, Hukum led BJPs charge in the constituency which has 5 Assembly seats under it. The BJP won 4. However, coming together of Opposition parties has completely changed the dimensions this time.