Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll: BJP fields Mriganka Singh, daughter of late MP Hukum Singh as its candidate

The BJP today named Mriganka Singh, daughter of late MP Hukum Singh, as its candidate for the Lok Sabha by-election in Uttar Pradesh Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, where it is set to again face a joint opposition after losing a similar contest in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls recently. Banking on the sympathy factor, the BJP announced the name of Avani Singh, wife of late MLA Lokendra Chauhan- who died in a road accident- as its candidate for Noorpur assembly by-poll. The party also announced its nominees for three more by-polls. Elections are scheduled for May 28 and the counting of votes will occur on May 31. Both UP seats, especially Kairana, have emerged as a prestige battle for the BJP after it suffered shock defeats in the by-polls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, which were vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively, to joint opposition candidates in March. In a clear indication that opposition parties, including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, will again put up a join fight, the Ajit Singh-led RLD has fielded Tabassum Begam with the backing of SP. The BSP is also likely to support her. While the Congress has not made its stand clear, it enjoys little influence in these seats and may agree to support her candidature, sources said. May 10 is the last date for the filing nominations. While Tabassum Begam, a former MP who was in the BSP before joining the SP and later switched over to the RLD, will be depending on consolidation of opposition votes, Mriganka Singh will bank on her fathers legacy and the BJPs Hindutva card to win from Kairana, where Muslims are close to 40 per cent.. Incidentally, Singh was also the BJPs candidate for the Kairana assembly seat in 2017 but had lost to her Samajwadi Party rival. Her father had represented the assembly seat for several terms before he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014. He died in February following a long spell of illness. Ahead of the Assembly polls in UP last year, Hukum Singh had stoked a controversy by claiming that Hindus were migrating from the region due to lawlessness and appeasement policy of the administration towards Muslims. If another by-poll defeat will be seen as a severe blow to the BJP ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in the politically most crucial state to its fortunes, a win will be a huge boost to its morale, signalling that it can overcome a united opposition. Among other by-poll candidates, the BJP said it will field Madhav Lal Singh from Gomia in Jharkhand, Munni Devi from Tharali in Uttarakhand and Sujit Ghosh from Maheshtala in West Bengal.