Situated about 10 kilometres from the main market in Kairana, village Kaserwa Kalaan is Jat-dominated. Villagers put the population of Jats – a dominant caste in western Uttar Pradesh – in the village at about 50%.As one walks around the narrow lanes, with large houses on either side, one sees the title Chaudhari – typical of Jats in the region – prefixed to nameplates in many houses.It is this powerful, agrarian caste that may in some ways hold the key to the May 28 Lok Sabha bypoll in which the BJP locks horns with a combined opposition that has backed the candidature of Tabassum Begum, now with the Rashtriya Lok Dal, a party traditionally associated with Jats in western U.P.Kaserwa Kalaan seems to be veering around to the RLD this time, with Jat villagers strongly backing the RLD.If Jats vote for the RLD in large numbers, the combined strength of Muslims, a numerically powerful community here, Jats and Dalits can make the contest a tough one for the BJP.Playing cards with his friends just outside his house, Bhopal Masterji, an ageing teacher belonging to the Jat caste, says the village is heavily tilted towards the RLD this time.He faults the BJP for the recent Karnataka crisis, and points to rising fuel prices to claim that the party has been unable to fulfil its promises.Communal overtones to the election apart, caste alignments are key to the poll outcome here, with the opposition combine banking on Jats deserting the BJP to vote for the RLD candidate.This is what seems to be happening, if Kaserwa Kalaan is any indicator.However, community stereotypes regarding Muslims remain, despite the shift.Asked if Jats would vote for a Muslim candidate of the RLD – given that Muzaffarnagar had seen Jat-Muslim riots in 2013 – Sanjeev Singh, a resident of the village, says that Jats would vote for any RLD candidate this time.“But if the RLD were to field a Jat candidate, not one Muslim would vote for him,” he adds with a wry smile.‘Muslim votes crucial’“Muslims are large in number here, and their votes are going to be crucial. Add Jats, and the RLD is on a strong wicket,” he says. “The day Muslims cross the 50% population mark in western U.P., only candidates they prefer will be elected.”The BJP also has a caste card in Kairana. They are banking on the Gujjars, with their candidate Mriganka Singh being late Gujjar leader Hukum Singh’s daughter.Apart from Gujjars – an influential caste here – the BJP is counting on upper caste Hindus, particularly Baniyas, to see it through.
FILE – In this Monday, May, 13, 2019 filer, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime returns the ball to Croatia’s Borna Coric during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome. It’s typically Canadian that Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu are each children of immigrants. What’s not typical is that they have all simultaneously broken into the world’s elite ranks of tennis players _ and will all be worth watching when the French Open begins Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)ROME — It’s typically Canadian that Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu are each children of immigrants.What’s not typical is that they have simultaneously broken into the world’s elite ranks of tennis players — and will all be worth watching when the French Open begins Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Auger-Aliassime’s father is from Togo and Andreescu’s parents are from Romania.“I think the great part about Canada is everyone says the people are so nice, the people are so friendly. But I think it’s because everyone comes from somewhere. So we’re just all so accepting,” Shapovalov said.“We all ended up in the same place from different paths and different families. That whole thing as a nation is incredible. We’ve all come our way and now we’re all playing for the same country and we’re all so proud to do it. It’s an incredible story.”Canada’s national training program has played a big role in shaping the players’ games.“They all have their style. They all don’t strike the ball the same,” International Tennis Hall of Fame coach Nick Bollettieri said. “And that means that it’s darn good coaching. Because you coach within the style and mentality of the player.”Andreescu has been out due to an injured shoulder since her title in Miami. But she’s been training at Rafael Nadal’s academy in Spain.“This has been a good period for me because I’m working a lot on my fitness, which is very important for the clay season. So I’m really looking forward to what I can do at the French Open,” she said. “Clay is one of my favorite surfaces.”Shapovalov slept in the basement of Auger-Aliassime’s house during his run in Montreal a couple of years ago and the pair recently went out and watched the latest Avengers film during a tournament in Spain.“We try to hang out as much as possible,” Shapovalov said. “We understand each other so well.”Hockey, however, remains a divisive issue for the pair. That’s because Shapovalov is a Maple Leafs fan while Auger-Aliassime supports the rival Montreal Canadiens. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tony Mitchell eager to make up for lost time as NLEX goes back to first-choice import The 20-year-old Shapovalov burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when he upset Rafael Nadal at the Canadian Open. He is now up to No. 23 in the rankings.The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime’s breakthrough came at the start of this year when he reached the final of the clay-court Rio Open.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThen things really started heating up in March when Andreescu, who is also 18, beat five seeded players when she won the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California , as a wild card entry; and Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime — as a qualifier — both reached the semifinals of the Miami Open.“I grew up with Felix and Bianca and to see how far we’ve come, to see Bianca lifting up a Masters trophy, my mind is exploding,” Shapovalov said in a recent interview. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:06DICT eyeing 4th, 5th telco player in PH – Honasan01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES MOST READ “It’s tough because he’s a Habs fan,” Shapovalov said. “At least we got basketball in common. We got one team in Canada. We’re both Raptors fans.”One more thing all the young Canadians have in common: increasing success on the tennis court.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess “You look at Canada and it’s like, ‘Hockey, hockey, hockey.’ And don’t get me wrong. I love hockey. I love the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Shapovalov said. “But it’s great to see that now people are like, ‘Oh, you can play tennis as well in Canada.’”While Canada has not historically been known as a tennis hotbed, it has produced other top players in recent years. Eugenie Bouchard (2014) and Milos Raonic (2016) were the country’s first two Grand Slam finalists, each at Wimbledon. Daniel Nestor completed a career Grand Slam in doubles in 2008 and Vasek Pospisil won a doubles title at Wimbledon in 2014.“Obviously they’ve inspired us and they’ve paved the way for us,” Shapovalov said. “I feel like every week a Canadian is making noise.”Auger-Aliassime (No. 28) and Andreescu (No. 22) each achieved career-high rankings this week.Shapovalov was born in Israel after his parents moved there from Russia. The family then settled in the Toronto area before Shapovalov turned 1.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport View comments