Kanwar Hasan, the candidate of the Lok Dal party for the bye-election to Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, pulled out of the race on Thursday and announced his support for the Rashtriya Lok Dal nominee Tabassum Hasan. The election will take place on May 28 and results will be out on May 31.

The Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Congress and the Nishad Party are also supporting Tabassum Hasan’s candidature in an effort to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mriganka Singh, NDTV reported. The bye-poll was necessitated by the death of Mriganka Singh’s father Hukum Singh earlier this year.

Kanwar Hasan’s withdrawal from the race could prevent splitting of Muslim votes, which was likely if he and Tabassum Hasan, who is also his sister-in-law, had contested separately. The Opposition is looking to continue its string of bye-poll victories in Uttar Pradesh, after defeating the BJP in Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies earlier this year.

The Kairana Lok Sabha constituency has 16 lakh voters. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has been campaigning heavily in the constituency. On Tuesday, he said that Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s hands were “stained with the blood of the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots”. He also claimed that the Opposition unites only during the elections because they have “nothing to do” with development and good governance.

Bye-elections will also be held to the Noorpur Assembly constituency on May 28. The election was necessitated after the BJP’s Lokendra Singh died in a road accident earlier this year. In Noorpur, the BJP’s Avani Singh is contesting against the Samajwadi Party’s Naim-ul-Hasan, the Hindustan Times reported.