Smooth sailing for Rajnath in Lucknow

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI file photo

With the Opposition failing to nominate any strong candidate, union home minister Rajnath Singh is likely to have it smooth sailing in Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency.

Considered to be a BJP bastion, Lucknow had sent former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lok Sabha five times. In 2004 Vajpayee's close confidante Lalji Tandon won the seat as a BJP nominee.

Lucknow was among the LS seats, where the Opposition namely the 'mahagathbandhan' and the Congress were expected to field a consensus candidate against Rajnath.

The talks, however, failed and the Samajwadi Party (SP) sprung a surprise by fielding film star turned politician and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha's wife Poonam Sinha.

Congress refused to back the SP nominee and fielded Acharya Pramod Krishnam, a spiritual leader and head of the famous Kalki Peetham in UP's Sambhal district.

Both SP and Congress leaders, however, admitted that their candidates were no match for Rajnath. ''Both are outsiders and the electorate of the city barely know them,'' commented a senior SP leader.

Home of around four lakh 'Brahmins' and an equal number of Muslims, BJP derives its strength from the 'brahmin' and 'vaishya' community. A section of the Muslims, especially the Shia community, were also traditional BJP supporters.

Confident Rajnath

So confident is Rajnath about his win here that he has not bothered to camp here and, instead, is campaigning for the saffron party in different parts of the country.

In 2014, Rajnath had romped home by an impressive margin of 2.73 lakh votes. Congress candidate Reeta Bahuguna Joshi finished second with 2.88 lakh votes. SP and BSP nominees finished a distant third and fourth respectively. 

Joshi, however, later joined the BJP and is contesting from Allahabad LS seat.

Lucknow will go to polls on Monday.

Total Electorate - 19 Lakh 

2014 Winner - Rajnath Singh

Runner Up - Reeta Bahuguna Joshi

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