Sunday, May 26, 2024

SOAS graduate, SP’s Iqra Hasan takes on BJP, poised to win Kairana Lok Sabha seat in UP

“Iqra Hasan is winning the Kairana seat of western Uttar Pradesh in this Lok Sabha polls,” said Ahsan (40), Pradhan of Bhura village in Kairana’s Shamli.

He added, “36 Biradari ka support hai, jeetegi to Iqra hi aur Lok Sabha jayegi (she has support from all the communities, only Iqra will win and go to Lok Sabha).”

Iqra Munawwar Hassan, a 29-year-old, is fielded by the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana as an INDIA alliance nominee.

This is her debut in an election as a candidate, but Hassan’s encounter with politics is not new. She had campaigned for her brother Naheed Hasan in 2022 in state Assembly elections and won a seat on his behalf while he was jailed by the UP government.

She is fielded against sitting BJP MP Pradeep Chaudhary, who defeated her mother Tabassum Begum in the 2019 General Elections.

Hassan also carries a political legacy with her father Munawwar Hasan, grandfather Chaudhary Akhtar Hassan, and mother Tabassum Hassan, who have a history of being elected Members of Parliament in the past at one time or another.

Hailing from Kairana, she completed her primary education at New Delhi’s Queen Mary School and graduated from Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram College in Arts. She later went to London’s SOAS University to get her Master’s degree in International Politics and Law.

Having been brought up outside Kairana for studies because the constituency lacks higher education institutes for women is one of the major issues around which Iqra is contesting elections.

Providing resources for the higher education of women in the constituency has been an important key element in her election campaign apart from all the prevailing issues in Kairana and the country.

Iqra Hasan’s grounded demeanor, calm personality, and promising attitude have made her one of the most discussed candidates of this Lok Sabha Elections.

Additionally, she is one of the youngest Muslim women candidates this year.

Maktoob reached out to some individuals to analyse the political situation and mood of the citizens in the Kairana district.

Jitendra Singh (54), former Zila Panchayat Member of SP and resident of Kandhla village expressing his support for Iqra Hasan said, “There is anger among people for former BJP MP Pradeep Chaudhary as despite being elected he was never seen among people.”

“I am a Hindu Jatt but for us, development matters, we will only vote for the candidate who thinks and works above the Hindu-Muslim bogey for each other, and I think Iqra Hasan has that kind of personality who thinks towards bringing people together,” said Singh.

He added, “And it is very evident as she is always seen standing among people, with them in their thick and thin, irrespective of their religious or caste identity, which is helping her in the elections; she has support from all communities.”

Singh, in a low tone, also expressed his fear of cheating and tampering with votes post-polling and said, “If the Bharatiya Janata Party doesn’t create any ruckus in the election process or counting, no force can stop Iqra from winning the Kairana seat.”

Like Singh, Vinay Chauhan (46), a primary teacher also from Kandhla village, wants to vote for Iqra Hassan this election as he also has his share of complaints about former BJP MP Pradeep Chaudhary, “who never visited our area after his election campaign in 2019. He doesn’t know what is happening in Kairana, forget visiting every village.”

Upon asking why Iqra, he said, “Despite having no power or position, she is always present for the people of Kairana and she deserves the rightful right of representing us in the Parliament as she is best suited for the position.”

Chauhan also believes that Iqra’s educational background can help revive the physical appearance of Kairana in many ways.

He said, “I admire her educational background as a teacher and support her vow to work towards providing better education in the district, and I believe that can fix other major issues simultaneously.”

Ragib Rana (40), a resident of Jijaula village in Shamli from the Rajput community, highlighted the unemployment issue in the district as well as in the country and said, “It is the major issue along with other problems in the country right now and the existing government, Bharatiya Janata Party, did nothing to bridge the gap between unemployment and creating job opportunities for the youth.”

He also said, “BJP is using the free ration scheme to the poor as their biggest achievement but that should not be their manifesto or report card. Food for all is a basic right for every citizen and if they are giving ration for that, it is no favor; it has failed in every other aspect: women’s safety, education, employment, communal harmony, and much more. They have failed on every promise they had made and now others better than them deserve a chance.”

When asked who he would vote for in this election, Rana didn’t mention the name or party but said, “Anyone who will defeat the BJP and has the potential to work on real development rather than just statements.”

It is worth noting that the Rajput community, which constitutes more than 10 percent of the population in west UP, has been protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party over unequal representation in ticket distribution and has maintained that they will vote against the BJP. However, they are yet to announce their support for any party.

A first-time voter, Chunmun, from Kairana, sees Iqra as her role model and said, “I will cast my first vote for Iqra Hasan as she is very dynamic. She has studied abroad but when she interacts with people, there is a sense of belonging. The attachment from the ground and people is showing.”

“I am too young to understand the complexities of politics but Iqra looks like an apt leader and I think my vote will not go to waste. I am very excited to cast my vote and also have a bet with my friend in school that my vote will be useful,” the 18-year-old exclaimed.

She also said, “I don’t know what discipline I will choose after growing up but I’m glad that better educational opportunities are coming our way as Iqra Hasan has promised in her election campaign, so we can get better higher education here in Kairana only.”

The Kairana Assembly seat has predominantly been held by either the Hasans or the Singhs since the 1970s, with the exceptions being Bashir Ahmed in 1977 and Rajeshwar Bansal in 1989. Notably, the late BJP leader Hukum Singh clinched the seat four times consecutively starting in 1996, later moving to represent the constituency in the Lok Sabha in 2014. Since then, Nahid Hasan has won the Kairana Assembly seat twice, defeating Anil Kumar of the BJP in the 2014 bypolls and Mriganka Singh, Hukum Singh’s daughter, in 2017.

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