Lok Sabha Elections 2019: How political families of west UP have charted their course
Political families often play a significant role in elections, banking on their influence to determine the poll outcome in their respective areas. This is also true in western Uttar Pradesh.
Some of the members of influential political families are again in the fray in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Others are either silent or analysing the public mood before showing their inclination towards any political party.
Here is a look at some prominent west UP political families:
CHAUDHARY FAMILY: BAGHPAT AND MUZAFFARNAGAR
Baghpat and its nearby areas have always shown respect and loyalty to former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh. After his death, the loyal voters extended their support to his son Chaudhary Ajit Singh and later to the former PM’s grandson Jayant Chaudhary.
The Muzaffarnagar- Shamli riots of 2013 dented the family’s political fortunes the most. It broke the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s winning equation of Jats and Muslims, resulting in the defeat of Jayant and Ajit Singh in the 2014 election. Thereafter, the RLD managed to win only the Chaprauli seat in the 2017 assembly election.
The growing influence of BJP made the Chaudhary family join the BSP-SP alliance. Jayant is now contesting from Baghpat and Ajit Singh is in the fray in Muzaffarnagar, leaving no stone unturned to revive the winning equation of Jats and Muslims.
Masood family of Saharanpur
The Masood family is influential in the Saharanpur area. Veteran leader Rasheed Masood represented Saharanpur six times in the Lok Sabha. He also contested the vice-presidential election unsuccessfully in 2007. His son Shazaan Masood contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014 and finished fourth. While BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal won the seat, Shazaan’s cousin Imran Masood was the runner-up.
In fact, many people see Imran Masood as Rasheed Masood’s true political heir, who won the Muzaffarabad assembly seat as an independent candidate in 2007.
When the family divided into the Imran and Rasheed Masood camps in 2014, Imran lost the Saharanpur Lok Sabha election to BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal that year.
Five years on, the family has reunited, contesting the election with their full strength and resources.
Hasan and Hukum families: Kairana
Politics in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency revolves around the families of the late MP Hukum Singh and the late Munawwar Hasan.
While Hukum Singh belonged to the Hindu Gujjar community, Munawwar Hasan was a Muslim Gujjar.
Munawwar Hasan was said to be the only leader of India who has been a member of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, the state assembly and the state legislative council. His father Akhtar Hasan defeated Mayawati by a margin of over two lakh votes and became MP. Munawwar Hasan defeated Hukum Singh in the Kairana assembly election in 1991. He also became MP in 1996. Mayawati fielded his wife Tabassum as the BSP candidate after Munawwar’s death in an accident in 2009 and she became MP. She lost to Hukum Singh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election but regained her seat in the 2018 by election, defeating Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh after his death.
Tabassum is in the fray again as an opposition alliance candidate while BJP has denied the ticket to Mriganka and fielded Pradeep Choudhary instead.
Akhlaq family : Meerut
The Akhlaq family of Meerut took the political plunge in the late 1980s when Haji Akhlaq, who set up a flourishing meat business, fought his first assembly election and won the Meerut seat as a Janata Dal candidate in 1989.
His son Shahid Akhlaq joined the Bahujan Samaj Party and was elected MP in 2004. He also became the mayor of Meerut before then. In 2014, he lost the Lok Sabha election. He also fielded his brother Rashid in the 2012 assembly election but lost.
The BSP has fielded Yakoob Qureshi as the alliance candidate on the Meerut seat.
Shahid Akhlaq says, “I am a silent spectator in the election this time.”
Expressing his dismay with the BSP, he said the future of Muslims lay with the Congress and he would work to strengthen the party.
Manzoor family: Meerut
Former minister and Samajwadi Party leader Shahid Manzoor is carrying forward the political legacy of his father Manzoor Ahmad, who represented Meerut and Garhmukteshwar in the state assembly as a Congress leader. Shahid Manzoor won the Kithore assembly seat thrice between 2002 and 2017. He contested the Lok Sabha election on the SP ticket in 2014, but lost in the Modi wave.
He also lost his traditional Kithore seat in the 2017 assembly election.
The Meerut seat has been given to BSP under a seat- arrangement among SP, BSP and RLD. Manzoor is helping alliance candidate Yakoob Qureshi in the election.
Rana family: Muzaffarnagar
The Ranas of Muzaffarnagar became an influential political family after acquiring wealth from their steel business. Its head Kadir Rana first became a member of legislative council and went on to be elected MLA from Morna in Muzaffarnagar.
He bagged the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seat on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in 2009, defeating the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Anuradha Chaudhary for his maiden entry in Parliament. He, however, lost the 2014 election to BJP’s Sanjeev Baliyan.
His brother Noor Saleem Rana was also a BSP MLA from Charthawal and nephew Shahnawaz was the legislator from Bijnor. Shahnawaz’s wife Intekhab was elected chairperson of the Muzaffarnagar zila panchayat.
However, no member of the Rana family emerged victorious in the 2017 assembly election.
This time, Kadir Rana is not in the fray as the Muzaffarnagar seat has been given to the RLD under a seat-sharing arrangement with the alliance. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh is trying his luck in the constituency this time.