In the midst of the “Modi wave”, BJP’s national president created a record of sorts in Lucknow. BJP’s national president registered an emphatic victory from the prestigous seat defeating Congress candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi by a record 2.72 lakh votes, emerging the true successor of party partriach and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In doing so, Rajnath also managed to surpass the highest victory margin of 2.18 lakh votes set by Atal from Lucknow in 2004.
Intersetingly, Narendra Modi did not go to Lucknow to campaign for BJP’s national president. Rajnath had replaced sitting MP and a close aide of Atal — Lalji Tandon — who had contested in 2009.
Tandon had secured 2.04 lakh votes and had defeated Rita by a comparatively smaller margin of 40,901 votes. Rajnath secured 5.61 lakh votes and defeated Rita, who garnered around 2.8 lakh votes.
Lucknow has always been considered a BJP bastion and the party has been winning since 1991 when Atal defeated Congress candidate Ranjeet Singh by 1.17 lakh votes. In 1996, he defeated SP candidate Raj Babbar by 1.18 lakh votes, while securing an impressive 52 per cent of the votes polled. Rajnath contested from the “safe seat” leaving Ghaziabad from where he had won by a margin of 90,681 votes in 2009.
“High poll percentage both in Lucknow was a factor that led to Rajnath’s win,” a BJP leader said.
To ensure a win, Rajnath also sought the support of clerics from Shia and Sunni sects and had also visited churches to seek support of the Christian community. He also offered prayers at the Gurudwara and a Dargah and visited various temples in Lucknow.
During the campaign, Rajnath had promised to fulfil Atal’s dreams of development for Lucknow.