Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh filed his nomination from the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat on Tuesday. He is seeking a re-election from here, having won the seat in 2014. Kaushal Kishore, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Mohanlal Ganj (SC) constituency also filed his nomination.
Polling in Lucknow and Mohanlal Ganj (SC) will be held in the fifth phase of the seven-tiered Lok Sabha elections on May 6. Nominations close on April 18. There will be no work on April 17 as it is a public holiday on account of Mahavir Jayanti.
With only a day remaining for filing the nomination papers, neither the Congress nor the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance has named their candidates from Lucknow. With probable candidates, including Jitin Prasada and Pramod Tiwari expressing their inability to contest the polls from Lucknow, the Congress is still searching for the right candidate to take on Rajnath.
In the SP-BSP-RLD mahagathbandhan, the Lucknow seat has been allotted to Samajwadi Party. SP president Akhilesh Yadav is to take a call on the party’s candidate from Lucknow. While Akhilesh decides on the Samajwadi candidate, the name of Poonam Sinha is making rounds of the party circles as the possible nominee from the high-profile seat. She is the wife of Shatrughan Sinha, who recently left the BJP and joined the Congress and is contesting from Patna Sahib in Bihar.
Before filing his papers at the district collectorate, Rajnath offered prayers at the Hanuman Setu temple. He then participated in a roadshow which commenced from the BJP headquarters and culminated at the district collectorate. Atop a flower-bedecked truck, the home minister was accompanied by the state president of BJP Mahendra Nath Pandey, senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma and the Janata Dal (United) general secretary KC Tyagi. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was not present as he is serving a 72-hour ban imposed on electioneering by the Election Commission.
Addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters before embarking on the road show, Rajnath said that there was a “Modi wave” in the country. Stating that he campaigned for the BJP in 10 states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Rajnath Singh said the people were enthusiastic about Prime Minister Modi.
Lucknow is considered a BJP stronghold ever since the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee won in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. Vajpayee replicated his feat in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2009 elections, the high-profile seat was won by his close aide Lalji Tandon, who is now the Governor of Bihar. Rajnath won from Lucknow in 2014.