Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was in Kairana today, the settlement in the western part of the state that was in the news before the 2017 state election for the alleged migration of Hindu families from the area because of local Muslim criminal gangs. Kairana has a 50 per cent Muslim population. The BJP had used the issue extensively in its campaign for the 2017 elections.
Yogi Adityanath was accompanied by state BJP Chief Swatantra Dev Singh, and the party’s elected representatives from the area. His visit to Kairana is being seen as an attempt by the party to revive the issue ahead of the 2022 polls that are less than 6 months away.
Visuals shot by the news agency ANI showed the Chief Minister and others meeting with families of those who have reportedly returned to Kairana after the BJP government came to power in 2017.
“Places like Kairana have dealt with the negative effects of the criminalisation of politics starting from the 1990s and the involvement of these criminals in politics. Hindu businessmen and other Hindus were forced to migrate from here. This had generated headlines across the country. After 2017, we implemented a zero-tolerance policy against crime and peace returned here. Many families have returned “, the UP Chief Minister said in an address to the media after the meetings.
कैराना, जनपद शामली में… https://t.co/5i4KfWKqn4
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) November 8, 2021
The issue was first raised in 2016 by the late Hukum Singh, the BJP politician who was a seven-time legislator from the Kairana seat and its MP before his death in 2018. Mr. Singh had released lists of Hindu families who he claimed had fled Kairana. Later, however, after the media had poked holes in those claims, Mr. Singh had said it was not a communal issue but merely one of law and order.
The Kairana assembly seat has been with the Samajwadi Party since 2014. The Lok Sabha seat by the same name was won by Mr. Singh in 2014. After his death in 2018, a candidate from the Rashtriya Lok Dal won the seat in the bypoll but it was wrested back by the BJP in the 2019 Lok sabha election.
Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, the BJP faces a big challenge in western Uttar Pradesh where the opposition claims farmer’s protests over new agricultural laws have united the Jats and Muslims – a sizeable vote bank in the area.