BJP taking no chances in Kairana, ministers in campaign fray
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BJP taking no chances in Kairana, ministers in campaign fray

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, five ministers and four MPs are campaigning for the BJP in Kairana, which goes to polls on May 28.

lucknow Updated: May 24, 2018 08:58 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Kairana
BJP,Kairana,Yogi Adityanath
After the shock defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies, earlier represented by CM Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, the BJP is taking no chances in Kairana.(AFP/File Photo)

After the party’s shock defeat in the by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be taking no chances in Kairana.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is leading a pack of state ministers to campaign in this communally sensitive Lok Sabha constituency, which goes to polls on May 28.

On Tuesday, Yogi and deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya campaigned in Saharanpur district, in which a part of Kairana constituency falls. Come Thursday, they will hold meetings in Shamli district.

Opposition parties too are going all out for victory, which they feel will set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, will campaign here for the joint opposition candidate, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan.

RLD national vice-president Jayant Chaudhary has been regularly visiting the constituency since the announcement of the polls and is likely to remain in Kairana for the remaining few days till the end of the campaign.

Tabassum is contesting against BJP’s Mriganka Singh, whose father Hukum Singh’s death has necessitated this bypoll.

Apart from Adityanath and his deputy, the BJP has thrown in at least five other state ministers into the fight for Kairana.

They include Dharam Singh Saini (minister of state for Ayush), Suresh Rana (sugarcane development), Anupama Jaiswal (basic education) Surya Pratap Shahi (agriculture) and Laxmi Narayan (religious affairs, culture, minority welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj).

Of these, Saini and Rana are MLAs from Nakur and Thana Bhawan assembly segments of the constituency. Jaiswal is the minister in charge of Shamli district, while Shahi is the minister in charge of Saharanpur.

“Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary has been roped in, since he hails from a farming background,” a senior UP BJP leader said.

Apart from this, BJP MPs Sanjiv Baliyan, Raghav Lakhan Pal, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar and Kanta Kardam are also actively campaigning for Mriganka Singh.

The opposition is projecting these visits as a sign of jitters in the ruling party, which recently lost Gorakhpur, a Lok Sabha seat vacated by Yogi Adityanath himself when he became chief minister.

“By sending so many ministers to a parliamentary constituency during a bypoll, the BJP has clearly displayed its nervousness,” SP spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan said.

“Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is likely to hold one election meeting during the by-elections, and his one meeting will prove to be quite enough for the BJP,” he boasted. Apart from Akhilesh, SP’s UP chief Naresh Uttam is extensively touring the constituency.

“The party has deputed leaders and workers up to the booth level in these by-elections,” Sajan said.

UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh also took potshots at the BJP over the party’s deployment for the campaign. “Sending five ministers for campaigning in a single parliamentary constituency during by-elections only display a lack of confidence among the BJP leaders and workers ahead of the election,” he said.

“I feel that a strong anti-BJP message will go to the entire country from here for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” he added.

The ruling party dismissed this reasoning.

“The BJP strongly believes in democratic values and hence it attaches great importance to each and every election,” spokesperson Chandramohan said.

“The people of the state very well know which political party supports rioters and anti-social elements, and which party stands with the people and fights for justice for them,” he said.

He maintained that BJP workers were not demotivated by the outcome of the Karnataka election, where the party fell slightly short of the number required to form government.

He claimed that the “high moral ground” taken by the party in Karnataka, where its chief minister-hopeful BS Yeddyurappa resigned ahead of a floor test, will help the party in Kairana.

Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary also defended the ministers’ visits to the constituency. “There is not an iota of nervousness among BJP leaders,” he said. “Generally in by-polls, the polling percentage is lower as compared to general elections. Hence, ministers are roped in to make voters aware of the achievements of the state government.”

First Published: May 24, 2018 08:55 IST