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Muzaffarnagar bypoll a litmus test for BJP; Cong, SP, RLD in the race

The emphatic victory of 2014 General Elections for the BJP is believed to have come in the backdrop of communal riots in western UP. But after the Bihar debacle, BJP hopes that the bypolls will provide the launching pad for the crucial Assembly polls slated for 2017. BJP's Kapil Dev Agarwal is once again campaigning to save the honour of women folk in the district. Balyan says, "Eve teasing goes unpunished here, that is why it has become a political issue."

The BJP campaign hinges on latest flashpoint in the district triggered by a suicide of a nurse after an MMS of her alleged rape went viral in January and since then the issue has been a constant refrain in the speeches being made by BJP leaders on campaign trail.

The bypoll in Muzaffarnagar was necessitated after the death of the SP MLA whose son has now been nominated by the party as its candidate. While BSP has decided to give these polls a miss, the other two contenders in the field remain the Congress, which has fielded a Muslim candidate in a constituency with over a lakh minority votes, and Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Singh's RLD with a traditional vote base amongst farming Jat community in the western UP was wiped out in 2014 Lok Sabha election and is now trying to make a comeback through bypolls. Ajit Singh said, "BJP leader had said that they will win Lok Sabha seats in Muzaffarnagar on the basis of riots."

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