The Bharatiya Janata Party failed to retain the politically sensitive Kairana parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh in bye-elections held on Monday. In results declared on Thursday, Tabassum Hasan of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, who had the support of a united Opposition front, defeated the BJP’s Mriganka Singh by nearly 45,000 votes, PTI reported.
A bye-election was required in Kairana following the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, Mriganka Singh’s father. Kairana saw a voter turnout of 54.2% on Monday, while 61% voted in repolling at 73 booths on Wednesday, which was necessitated because of complaints of voter verifiable paper audit trail machines malfunctioning. The Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party had come together to support Tabassum Hasan in an effort to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Hasan was a Lok Sabha member from Kairana between 2009 and 2014, when she was with the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Conceding defeat, Mriganka Singh acknowledged that the Opposition parties’ alliance was emerging strong and the BJP needed to prepare better for the future, ANI reported.
The BJP lost to a united Opposition candidate in the Noorpur Assembly bye-election as well.
As the results came in, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said this was a defeat for the BJP “in its own laboratory of divisive politics”. This was an apparent reference to the BJP’s claim of the alleged exodus of Hindu families from Kairana in 2015 out of fear of Muslim gangsters.