Buoyed by the Opposition’s grand success in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on Sunday said it would contest the May 28 Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll with the “full support” of like-minded, non-BJP parties. “We have decided to field Tabassum Begum from the Kairana parliamentary constituency,” Uttar Pradesh RLD chief Masood Ahmad said. “We expect the full support of like-minded, non-BJP parties, especially the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), besides the Congress. Tabassum Begum joined the RLD on Sunday and hopefully, she will emerge as the joint opposition candidate,” he said. A former BSP MP from Kairana, Tabassum (47), who had later joined the SP, is a popular face in the Jat-dominated constituency in western Uttar Pradesh, about 100 km from New Delhi.Exuding confidence that the Ajit Singh-led party will win the crucial bypoll, Mr. Ahmad said: “The process of forming a coalition (against the BJP) has started and soon, there will be a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).” ‘Opposition unity’ He also said the RLD will support the SP candidate for the Noorpur Assembly by-election, to be held simultaneously with the Kairana bypoll, heralding the process of opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The Kairana bypoll was necessitated following the death of its sitting BJP MP, Hukum Singh. Similarly, the Noorpur Assembly seat fell vacant after the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident. Commenting on the development, State BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said: “The confusion arising out of such political manipulations will lead to the opposition’s defeat and the BJP will emerge victorious with the people’s support.” Extra efforts The BJP will put in extra efforts to retain both the seats to send a message to its cadre, the voters as well as the opposition parties that its drubbing in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls was a closed chapter now and that the saffron party’s vote-bank was still intact in western U.P., a party insider said. On the other hand, the opposition parties — the SP, the RLD and the Congress — are viewing the bypolls as another opportunity to convey the message to the voters that the saffron fortress can be breached if the opposition is united.