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Iqra Hasan: The Woman Leading Kairana Election Campaign for Her Jailed Brother

Iqra Hasan, younger sister of a jailed SP leader, has assumed charge of her brother's election campaign in Kairana.

Updated

Script: Fuzaila Khan
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

With Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Nahid Hasan in jail, his younger sister Iqra Hasan (28) has stepped in to spearhead her brother's election campaign in the Kairana Assembly seat of UP's Shamli district.

Nahid recently showed up for nomination and was soon arrested in one of the many cases registered against him. Ever since his name was announced as the SP-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance candidate from Kairana, the arch-rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a scathing attack over his criminal past.

With Nahid missing in action, his sister Iqra has begun consolidating support in her brother's favour in the region, which has been a Hasan family stronghold.

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The BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of late BJP MP Hukum Singh from the seat. The contest in Kairana, be it Assembly or Lok Sabha, has invariably been between the two families – Hasans and Singhs – and is again set for a nail-biting finish.

Who Is Iqra Hasan?

A History graduate from Lady Sri Ram college in Delhi, Iqra pursued law from 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 University of London. She came back to India in January 2021.

Speaking to The Quint, Iqra said that she is not new to politics and has contested zilla panchayat elections in 2015. "I have campaigned in 2014, contested zilla panchayat elections in 2015 and then again campaigned in 2017 (Assembly elections), 2018 (bypolls), and 2019 (Lok Sabha). This is my sixth election but this is the first time that I am leading the election campaign," Iqra said.
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Iqra Hasan (centre) in a public meeting during the campaign.</p></div>

Iqra Hasan (centre) in a public meeting during the campaign.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

Daughter of late Munawwar Hasan and Tabassum Hasan, Iqra credits her father for her political acumen, which is being actively put to use in the absence of her brother. She has begun door-to-door campaigning and is holding nukkad sabhas in the constituency.

"We have seen how people are flocking away from the BJP – be it the sitting MLAs or ministers. If the BJP was doing good, people would not have left the party. This has sent a very strong message and it will be very positive for our party and the alliance," Iqra said.

BJP's Sharp Attack Over Nahid's Candidature

A section of media had recently reported that Nahid's candidature has been withdrawn and Iqra would be fielded instead amid the political slugfest over his candidature and criminal past. However, the development was not officially corroborated by the SP.

Nahid's arrest kicked off a political storm as several senior BJP leaders took potshots at the SP for fielding him despite several cases against him, some under stringent sections, including the Uttar Pradesh Gangster and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act.

"If you see MLA Nahid Hasan (SP candidate from Kairana), he is SP's candidate number one. He is in jail. The second MLA is Abdullah Azam, who is on bail. If you see the list of SP candidates, it starts from the one in jail, and ends with the one on bail. The game of jail-bail is the real 'khel' (game) of the Samajwadi Party," Union minister Anurag Thakur had said in Lucknow.

Iqra, meanwhile, is unfazed by the opposition's attack and the bad press her brother is attracting over his arrest. "On the ground, the reality is different. If you go and take feedback from people, the story is entirely different," she said.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Iqra Hasan (centre) in a public meeting during the campaign.</p></div>

Iqra Hasan (centre) in a public meeting during the campaign.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

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Battleground Kairana

Since the 1970s, Kairana Assembly seat has been represented by either the Hasans or the Singhs with the exception of Bashir Ahmed in 1977 and Rajeshwar Bansal in 1989. Late BJP stalwart Hukum Singh won the seat for 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 from the Kairana Assembly seat, defeating BJP's Anil Kumar in 2014 bypolls and Hukum Singh's daughter Mriganka Singh in 2017.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Iqra and company is pinning hopes on the door-to-door campaign as a part of their strategy.</p></div>

Iqra and company is pinning hopes on the door-to-door campaign as a part of their strategy.

The BJP this time has again placed its bet on Mriganka. The main opposition, though under attack over Nahid's candidature, is upbeat.

"Throughout the day, everyday, we have been campaigning door to door and holding small nukkad sabhas in at least five-six villages. Iqra 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," Rajan Jawla, an RLD student leader accompanying Iqra in the campaign said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Published: 
Edited By :Tejas Harad
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