In the West UP seat, London-educated Kairana ki Beti challenges the BJP

In Western Uttar Pradesh, Kairana is under scrutiny. There has been a long-standing feud between two well-known families. The 2013 violence in Muzaffarnagar and reports of Hindu families leaving the area have given the election campaign a new angle.

In the first round of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, Kairana is one of the eight seats in the area that will be voting on Friday.

And the candidate leading the battle for the INDIA block against the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Kairana, a seat made up of assembly constituencies from the Uttar Pradesh districts of Shamli and Saharanpur, is a 27-year-old beti (daughter).

In the seat, Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Iqra Hasan is running against Pradeep Chaudhary of the BJP.

Kairana Munawwar and Tabassum Hasan are the parents of Iqra Hasan.

In the 1980s, Akhtar Hasan, the grandfather of Iqra, also served in office.

After her mother Tabassum Hasan and brother Nahid Hasan, a three-time MLA, were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police, Iqra Hasan, a London School of Oriental and African Studies graduate, entered politics.

Iqra led Nahid’s campaign in the towns and villages when he ran for the UP assembly in 2021 while incarcerated.

Iqra took the lead when Nahid beat Hukum Singh’s daughter on the Kairana assembly seat.

The Hasan family claimed that Nahid’s arrest under the strict Gangsters Act was a political ploy by the UP government to destroy them politically, at the request of the family of BJP leader Hukum Singh.

The Hasans and Singhs are two families that need to be mentioned in order for the account of the Kairana election to be finished. The tale tells of the animosity that arose over decades when a Gujjar family line became Muslim.

In the 1990s, the Hasan and Singh families’ descendants faced off in the elections.

The Samajwadi Party fielded Chaudhary Munawwar Hasan as a candidate, while the BJP fielded Hukum Singh.

Nahid Hasan, the son of Munawwar Hasan, and Mriganka Singh, the daughter of Hukum Singh, were matched in that battle’s continuance.

Iqra Hasan, Naheed’s sister, is now leading the Kairana campaign; however, Hukum Singh’s family is not running this time.

Following the sectarian violence in 2013, Hukum Singh was elected to the Lower House in 2014 with a margin of 2.6 lakh votes. Pradeep Chaudhary was the one who kept the seat for the BJP after his death.

In this Lok Sabha election, Iqra Hasan is running against Pradeep Chaudhary.

In contrast to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which saw the SP and Congress compete independently, this year’s campaign for a seat that is mostly held by Muslims, Dalits, Jaats, and Gujjars is a two-way race between the BJP and the SP.

This time, the two parties—which are members of the INDIA bloc—have teamed up.

Iqra Hasan seems to be making life difficult for Pradeep Chaudhary, the current BJP MP, on the ground as a consequence. The fact that Kairana’s voters see Pradeep Chaudhary as unapproachable is another factor that might work against the BJP candidate.

Iqra Hasan is seen to have an advantage over a seat that the BJP had linked to a purported “palayan” (exodus) of Hindu households because of her secular mindset and presence among the Jat and Gujjar communities.

Before the 2018 bye-election in the constituency, which was said to be “facing an exodus of Hindus” after the religious disturbances, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath posted on X, “Today no one dares scare away anyone from Kairana and Kandhla”.

It was widely believed to be “symbolic” when Chief Minister Adityanath recently announced the construction of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) barracks and shooting range in Kairana.

Iqra Hasan may have an advantage in the Kairana seat because of Western Uttar Pradesh, which has had its fair share of animosity against the governing BJP since the contentious agricultural rules were passed and certain party heavyweights were denied seats.

Landowning groups, the Gujjar and Jat communities, who demonstrated against the agricultural rules, are powerful in the area and in Kairana’s constituency.

Unhappiness Another group that might tip the scales in favor of Iqra is the sugarcane producers.

Iqra Hasan, a London-educated individual, is bucking the BJP’s effort at polarization by emphasizing women’s economic independence and stressing that blaming a single group for crimes is communalizing an issue.

My three main election platform pillars are jobs, education, and electricity (Iqra Hasan).

The Kairana migration was also denied by her as “the BJP’s narrative.”.

It is also said that Iqra is preferred by the Dalits and the most backward sections against BSP candidate Shripal Rana.

Swelling in support from many biradaris (caste groupings) and the 5.5 lakh Muslims (40%) that make up Kairana, it would be intriguing to watch whether 29-year-old London-educated ‘beti’ Iqra Hasan obtains what she wants in the usually male-dominated seat.

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