For Rajnath Singh, the battle in Lucknow is a cakewalk

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For Rajnath Singh, the battle in Lucknow is a cakewalk
 
Lucknow:  If there is one seat in Uttar Pradesh that has remained solidly with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), since the past two and a half decades and is all set to keep up the tradition, it is Lucknow.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, a two-time sitting MP from Lucknow, is in a direct contest with the INDIA bloc candidate Ravidas Mehrotra, who is also the Samajwadi Party MLA from Lucknow Central assembly seat.

Rajnath Singh will be contesting to seek his third consecutive victory from the prestigious parliamentary constituency which was represented by former Prime Minister, late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, five times from 1991 to 2004.

It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who won the seat for the BJP in 1991 for the first time by defeating Congress candidate Ranjeet Singh. Mandhata Singh, the sitting MP of the Janata Dal, was relegated to the third position.

Thereafter, the BJP never looked back and Vajpayee won the seat by defeating stalwarts like Dr Karan Singh, Muzaffar Ali and Raj Babbar in subsequent elections.

In 2009, when Vajpayee retired from politics, the seat was won by the late Lalji Tandon, who was Vajpayee’s representative in Lucknow.

In 2014, Rajnath Singh was named as BJP candidate and he retained Lucknow by defeating Rita Bahuguna Joshi — then in Congress (now in BJP) — and in 2019, he defeated Punam Singh (wife of Shatrughan Sinha).

According to political analysts, it will be a smooth sailing for Rajnath Singh in 2024 and the main reason behind this is his excellent rapport with the Shia community that constitutes almost 21 per cent of the population in the state capital.

Defence Minister Singh makes it a point to regularly visit the Shia leaders during his Lucknow visits and keeps himself updated about their problems and apprehensions.

In the BJP, he is the only leader after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lalji Tandon who enjoys ground support from Shia Muslims.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party candidate Ravidas Mehrotra is a political veteran who has emerged from student politics. He holds a record in the Limca book for having gone to jail 250 times in 42 years.

Ravidas Malhotra is a grassroots leader of SP and is familiar with the constituency and its people.

“What Ravidas Mehrotra lacks is the stature to match a politician like Rajnath Singh. Moreover, Rajnath Singh has ensured development in Lucknow and the only thing that remains to be solved is the traffic problem. Besides, Lucknow has been a BJP bastion since the past 33 years and there is no anti-incumbency against the party or the candidate,” said senior political analyst J P Shukla.


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