The daughter of a BJP leader who was the party's candidate in by-polls last year in Uttar Pradesh's Kairana has alleged a "conspiracy" after being passed over for next month's national election. Speaking to NDTV on Tuesday, the BJP's Mriganka Singh, holding back tears, hit out at her party using its slogan.
"Those who conspired against me had only one intention - beti hatao, astitva mitao (remove the daughter, wipe away the legacy)," said Mriganka Singh, the daughter of former BJP parliamentarian Hukum Singh.
Her twist on the Haryana BJP government catchphrase "Beti Bachao, Beti Padao (educate daughters)" betrayed her dejection at being denied another chance to contest as a BJP candidate in Kairana, which was her father's constituency.
Last year, Mriganka Singh was the BJP's candidate for by-polls in Kairana necessitated by her father's death. But she lost to opposition nominee Tabassum Begum, contesting as a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate but backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party and Congress.
The Kairana verdict became a test case of opposition unity, along with similar BJP losses in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and inspired BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi leader Akhilesh Yadav to repeat the formula in Uttar Pradesh for the coming national polls.
This time, the BJP has picked Pradeep Chaudhary, a legislator who has been in the Congress and the Samajwadi Party in the past.
The BJP's fight may be strengthened by the presence of another opposition candidate in the mix, a recipe for divided votes; the Congress has fielded four-time legislator Harendra Malik, an influential Jat leader. His son Pankaj Malik is also a BJP legislator.
Asked whether there was resentment over the BJP's decision, Mriganka Singh said: "Of course. In the 2018 by-polls, the party got 46 per cent of the votes against the opposition alliance. I was sure that I would have the party's blessings and they would give me another opportunity. But it did not happen. It was a chain of conspiracy."
Hukum Singh, her father, had been a legislator from the region multiple times and in 2014, he won the parliamentary seat. "He had been active in Kairana for 45 years. I failed," Mriganka Singh said, her voice catching on the words.
Kairana votes in the first of the seven-phase national elections from April 11 to May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.