SP’s Iqra Hasan toils hard in UP’s Kairana to save political legacy

Lucknow: She is young, good-looking, polite and speaks fluent English — everything that is not typical of a politician from Uttar Pradesh. Iqra Hasan, 28, is a candidate with a difference.

She is contesting the Kairana seat in Shamli district on a Samajwadi Party ticket and is campaigning for almost 16 hours a day to save the political legacy of her family.

Her grandfather Akhtar Hasan was an MP in 1984, her father Munawwar Hasan was an MP from Kairana in 1996 and then her mother Tabassum Hasan held the seat twice in 2009 and 2018 (bypoll).

Her brother Nahid Hasan is SP MLA from the Kairana Assembly seat.

Though she was born into a political family, she got her first real taste of politics in 2022 when her brother Nahid Hasan was arrested and sent to jail just before the Assembly polls.

Iqra Hasan took over the responsibility of her brother’s campaign and ensured his victory.

“I am not exactly a novice in politics. I have grown up in this atmosphere. I campaigned in 2014, contested zilla panchayat elections in 2015 and then again campaigned in 2017 (Assembly elections), 2018 (bypolls), 2019 (Lok Sabha) and 2022 for my brother. This is my seventh election but this is the first time that I am leading the election campaign,” Hasan says.

A History graduate from Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi, Iqra Hasan pursued law from the Faculty of Law at the Delhi University and went on to do her Master’s in international law and politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which is a part of the University of London. She came back to India in January 2021.

According to SP sources, Akhilesh Yadav chose Iqra Hasan to contest the Lok Sabha elections because, through her, he wanted to reach out to the new generation, of educated Muslim youth.

For the past four decades, Kairana has been represented by two families — Munawwar Hasan and Hukum Singh.

BJP stalwart, late Hukum Singh, won the seat four consecutive times since 1996 and later went on to represent the seat in Lok Sabha in 2014.

Since then, Nahid Hasan has twice successfully contested the Kairana Assembly seat, defeating BJP’s Anil Kumar in 2014 bypolls and Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh in 2017.

Kairana hit the headlines in 2017 when the late Hukum Singh claimed that Hindus were migrating in large numbers from Kairana. The incident generated a huge controversy but later the BJP leader withdrew his allegation.

“Migration was never an issue here in the elections though people outside Kairana still talk about it,” says Iqra Hasan.

She has been campaigning door to door and holding small ‘nukkad sabhas’ in at least five to six villages daily. Iqra Hasan has been reaching out to these people with a message that the Hasan family has been with them in the past without any discrimination and would continue to serve them.

The SP candidate is being challenged by the sitting MP, Pradeep Choudhary, of BJP. Pradeep, who belongs to the Gurjar caste, won the election by defeating her mother and two-time MP SP candidate Tabassum Hasan in 2019.

His biggest advantage this time is that Rashtriya Lok Dal is now in alliance with BJP which gives him added Jat support.

RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary held a meeting on Tuesday in support of the BJP which drew huge crowds.

The BSP candidate is Sripal Rana, an ex-serviceman.

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