Union Home Minister Amit Shah will plunge into BJP’s electoral campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the first time after the announcement of the dates for the assembly election, where he will visit every household in Kairana on 22 January, raising the issue of the exodus of Hindus under the fear of persecution by Muslims again. Shah, who is playing a key role in the party’s campaign in the politically important state, will also hold meetings with party workers in Shamli and Baghpat. Thereafter he will interact with eminent citizens in Meerut.
Amit Shah’s choice of Kairana as his first stop in Uttar Pradesh assumes significance as BJP leaders had alleged in the 2017 assembly election that a large number of Hindus fled from the town due to threats following the 2013 Muzaffarpur riots. The exodus of Hindu families in western Uttar Pradesh, especially from Kairana in District Shamli, adjoining Meerut, has returned as an issue time and again as the 40% of the population of Shamli and Muzaffarnagar districts are Muslim.
Veteran BJP and Gujjar leader Late Hukum Singh had raised the issue of the exodus of Hindus from Kairana during the last 2017 assembly election.
Both Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Shah have raised the issue earlier and yet Samajwadi Party’s Nahid Hasan managed to win from here due to what locals say a temporary disillusionment with the BJP for its “broken promises” of terminating fabricated cases and providing legal aid to Hindus among the accused in other cases.
Chief Minister Yogi, however, reached out to the Hindus last month, mollifying the despondent Hindu electorate and explaining to them with supporting data that the fabricated cases had indeed been terminated.
BJP’s defeated candidate Mriganka Singh is Hukum Singh’s daughter, who is once again the ruling party’s candidate in Kairana.
While Hasan has once again been nominated by the Samajwadi Party from Kairana, he was arrested a day after filing his nomination papers. With this arrest, the command of the long-running political tussle has gone into the hands of women members of the two families that were one some 120 years ago until a feud separated them.
Nahid, a two-time MLA from Kairana, has been replaced by his sister and law student Iqra Hassan, who had come from Europe but got sucked into Indian politics. On the other side, Mriganka Singh, the eldest of the four daughters of the late BJP leader and three-time MLA from Kairana, Hukum Singh, is in the fray.
Hasan (34) was arrested under the Gangsters Act and a court rejected his bail plea on 18 January.
Mriganka is now making her third attempt to take over her father’s legacy. Hukum Singh started his political career with the INC in 1974 when he won the Kairana assembly seat for the first time. He won the seat again twice, once on a Janata Party (Secular) ticket. He joined the BJP in 1995 and represented the Kairana seat four times. He lost the 2009 general election but was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014.