Indian News | High Stakes for BJP and SP-RLD in Khatauli Bypoll

Muzaffarnagar, Dec 3 (PTI) Khatauli, a dusty town that was the hotbed of the 2013 Muzaffaragar riots in western Uttar Pradesh, is witnessing a tough battle in the bypoll, a psychological warfare ahead of the 2024 general election.

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The BJP is trying to retain its seat, some 25 km south of the city of Muzaffarnagar, while the SP-RLD alliance is working hard to upset the ruling party’s apple cart.

With Congress and the BSP sidelined, the December 5 Khatauli by-election is seeing direct fighting between the BJP and the SP-RLD.

The secondary poll has been necessitated by the disqualification of BJP lawmaker Vikram Singh Saini following his conviction and two-year prison sentence by a district court in a 2013 riot case.

RLD candidate Madan Bhaiya, a four-term MLA, won his last election almost 15 years ago, followed by three straight defeats in the assembly polls in 2012, 2017 and 2022 by Loni in Ghaziabad.

With the BSP abstaining in the secondary vote, the SP-RLD alliance reached an understanding with Dalit politician Chandra Shekhar Aazad, who heads the Azad Samaj Party. Azad has extended his support to the alliance candidate and is actively campaigning for him.

In Khatauli, there are 3.16 lakh voters, including nearly 50,000 people from time castes and 80,000 Muslim voters, according to party sources.

There are more than 1.5 lakh OBCs including Sainis with 35,000 votes, apart from Prajapatis, Gujjars, Jats, Kashyaps, Gujjars and Palsthey said.

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“Both the BJP and the alliance are trying to sway these voters in their favor,” said Satpal Singh, a Khatauli university professor and election observer.

Aazad shared the stage with RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary at a rally a few days ago. Azad is also campaigning door to door in the prominent Dalit area seeking support for the alliance candidate and has promised to be in Khatauli until the election date.

To counter this, the BJP has sent a barrage of high-level leaders, including Social Welfare Minister Asim Arun.

The policeman turned politician is seen meeting Dalit people and backward communities and highlighting the work done by the state government for their betterment.

Along with the development polling board, BJP leaders have been analyzing the 2013 communal riots in the district in which 62 people were killed and nearly 40,000 displaced.

Addressing an election rally, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that Saini, who has been convicted in the hate speech case, lost his membership not because of any family issue, but because of Muzaffarnagar’s dignity.

“It was a fabricated and politically motivated case,” said the CM.

Adityanath also lashed out at rivals for the alleged lack of public order during the SP rule. “They want our daughters and sisters not to venture onto the roads… They want a Taliban-like government,” he said, calling the Kawal killings, which are believed to have sparked the Muzaffarnagar riots, a black mark on the SP.

“It was because of the SP-RLD alliance that the Hindu youth and the people of the area had to face atrocities… People can never forget the cruelty inflicted on Sachin and Gaurav (Kawal victims) during the SP rule,” he recalled. Adityanath to the public of the riots.

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The BJP had swept all six constituency constituencies in the 2017 assembly elections. However, the results went in favor of the party in only two constituencies – Khatauli and Muzaffarnagar.

According to locals, the dent in the BJP’s rule was due to protests by farmers against the now-removed controversial farm laws. Unemployment and inflation are other reasons that worry the locals.

RLD Chairman Jayant Chaudhary is campaigning vigorously for the party’s candidate.

The BJP received a major boost when the husband of independent candidate Sudhes Devi, Gaurav’s mother, announced his support for the saffron party at an Adityanath rally.

Although the result of the midterm elections would have no impact on the health of the state government, which enjoys a comfortable majority in the UP’s 403-member chamber.

The result would give a psychological advantage to any of the competing parties in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Since the recent state polls, the SP-RLD alliance has been doing its best to extend its influence in western Uttar Pradesh, which comprises around a quarter of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP.

The stakes are also high for the BJP’s new state chairman, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary, who hails from the area.

(This is an auto-generated, raw story from the syndicated news feed, the body of the content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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