The Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll scheduled for May 28 is set to witness a battle between two women from two politically powerful and rival families of western Uttar Pradesh. The BJP on Tuesday officially declared Mriganka Singh as its candidate. She will go head-to-head against former MP Tabassum Begum, who is strategically contesting on an RLD ticket but with the open support of the SP and understanding with the BSP.Mriganka Singh is the daughter of former Kairana MP and BJP stalwart Hukum Singh, whose death in February due to illness necessitated the bypoll. Tabassum Begum is the widow of Munawwar Hasan, who was MP from both Kairana and Muzaffarnagar seats in 1996 and 2004 before he died in a road accident in 2008. While Munawwar, whose father Athar Hasan was also an MP, contested on an SP ticket, his wife Tabassum won in 2009 after his death as a BSP candidate. In 2014, BJP’s Hukum Singh won the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, defeating Tabassum’s son Nahid Hasan, then only 26, by 2.35 lakh votes even though he secured an impressive 3.29 lakh votes, in a highly polarised contest post the Muzaffarnagar riots.An opportunity The bypoll will also provide an opportunity for Mriganka Singh to avenge her defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections at the hands of Nahid Hasan, who as an SP candidate defeated her by over 21,000 votes in Kairana despite a high-pitched campaign by the BJP on the controversial and polarising subject of exodus of Hindus. In that election, Hukum Singh’s nephew Anl Chauhan, unhappy over being ticket, contested on an RLD ticket, eventually helping Nahid Hasan widen the gap over Mirganka.While sources said the BJP is expected to raise the exodus issue again in the campaign, Mriganka will, to a large extent, rely on the legacy of her father. On the other hand, by fielding Tabassum on an RLD ticket, the SP has attempted to bridge the gap between Muslims and Jats almost five years after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal violence polarised the entire region and dismantled old political arithmetic between the two communities.The nomination will help keep the RLD relevant while safeguarding the opposition against potential communal polarisation which would have become imminent had Tabassum contested on an SP ticket without the RLD involvement. Tabassum will file her nomination on Wednesday and the RLD plans to put up a show of strength on the occasion, with more Hindu Jats than Muslims expected to be visible, as per strategy.“Eighty per cent Jats are are already with us. After campaigning that will reach 90%. This election will heal all remaining wounds between Jats and Muslims,” Masood Ahmed, RLD UP president, told The Hindu.However, BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said the RLD had become an irrelevant party and the legacy and development work of Hukum Singh would see his daughter through comfortably. “The RLD is not in a position to contest elections. All votes for development, oppressed classes, farmers and backwards will go to the BJP,” Mr. Chandramohan said. The RLD had won the Kairana seat in 1999 and 2004. In 2014, under the Modi wave, the BJP had secured 5.65 lakh votes , which was more than the votes of the RLD, the BSP and the SP combined.BJP bypolls candidatesApart from Ms. Singh’s candidature from Kairana for the Lok Sabha bypoll, the BJP on Tuesday evening announced candidates for four Assembly bypolls too. The party has fielded Avani Singh for the U.P. Assembly bypoll from Noorpur, Madhav Lal Singh from Gomia in Jharkhand, Munni Devi from Tharali in Uttarakhand and Sujit Ghosh, a retired police officer, from Maheshtala in West Bengal.