December 9, 2022

kairana: Assembly elections: BJP using 2017 script to pin down SP | India News – Times of India

LUCKNOW: Is BJP rewinding its 2017 election script to pin down SP in the same political frame? The question assumed pertinence with BJP amplifying the Kairana exodus issue, stoking the narrative of another rift in the Yadav first family and cornering SP on criminalisation of politics.
A senior BJP leader affirmed the ‘Kairana exodus’ issue continues to touch a raw nerve among people. “The exodus of Hindu families from Kairana has always been a cause of concern for BJP, before and after it came to power. Our priority was to help these people return home,” he said.
In June, 2016, then BJP MP, Hukum Singh, released a list of 346 people who were forced to migrate from Kairana, a Muslim-majority town in western UP, because of “threats and extortion by criminal elements from a particular community”. Later, Singh retracted his statement, saying migration from the town was “essentially a law and order issue”, but the “exodus” narrative caught up with the communally sensitive region. UP BJP, with Amit Shah as in charge in 2013, sniffed an opportunity to corner the SP government then headed by Akhilesh Yadav, with assembly polls just a few months away.
Cut to January, 2022. Shah, now a high-profile Union minister, was back in Kairana. He hit the alleyways of the town to carry out a door-to-door campaign, in a throwback to the 2017 BJP strategy to turn west UP into an epicentre of a saffron wave.
In fact, immediately after SP-RLD released its first list of candidates on January 13, the BJP ranks pounced on Akhilesh for fielding Nahid Hasan from Kairana, while accusing him of masterminding the Hindu exodus. Even as Nahid got arrested on January 16 in a case lodged against him under the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act in Kairana kotwali in February last year, his sister Ikra Hasan has filed the nomination as a backup.
Samajwadi Party termed it as a BJP ploy to turn UP elections communal. “They have nothing to show. Which is why they are raking up Kairana again,” said SP spokesperson Abdul Hafiz.
He insisted that BJP’s attempt to accentuate the “so-called rift” in Yadav family is also part of the same script. “The leaders who are deserting SP do not have any “janadhaar” (mass following) and their defection would in no way affect SP’s poll prospects,” he said in an apparent reference to defection of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna, and his two relatives, Pramod Gupta and Hari Om Yadav, to the BJP camp.
But BJP leaders insist the rift in the Yadav clan is a longstanding one and will tend to come out in the open in the event of a power struggle. “Earlier, it was between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal, now it is between Akhilesh and the family of his younger brother, Prateek,” said UP BJP spokesperson Hero Bajpai. In 2017, the stand-off between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal Yadav led to a rift in the SP’s first family just before the polls.
BJP has also been sharpening its attack on SP brass by saying: “Ye nayi nahi…ye wahi Sapa hai”. CM Yogi Adityanath led the charge by flaying the SP leadership for fielding candidates with criminal antecedents in the first two phases of UP elections. Yogi, in fact, blasted SP for “not coming out of “tamancha” mentality and fielding candidates responsible for riots in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar.
In 2017, too, the BJP raised the issue of poor law and order during the SP regime and accused it of sheltering criminals and mafia.

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