The Kairana by-election, a seat BJP won in 2014, is seen as a testing ground for opposition unity ahead of the 2019 elections in a State that sends the maximum number of lawmakers to parliament. After sworn rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) came together to win bypolls to the BJP bastions of Gorakhpur and Phulpur earlier this year, the Congress and RLD have joined the bandwagon in Kairana.
The Kairana by-poll was necessitated following the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February. His daughter Mriganka Singh was pitted by the party against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan (BSP MP from Kairana in 2009) who is also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and also claims the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Similarly, the bye-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated due to the death of BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
While BJP reposed faith in Avani Singh, wife of late MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate, the SP fielded Naeemul Hasan as its nominee.
After the defeat of the BJP in Gorakhpur and Phoolpur Lok Sabha bypolls, opposition parties are upbeat aiming to consolidate anti-BJP votes, whereas the ruling BJP has made extra efforts to retain both the seats in order to send a message to voters, party cadres — as well as opposition parties — that the recent reversals are a closed chapter now, and that it was still strong in western UP.