SP drops Bajpai, pits minister Mishra against Rajnath

BJP national president Rajnath Singh. BJP national president Rajnath Singh.

Samajwadi Party Thursday named Abhishek Mishra, a minister of state in Akhilesh Yadav government, from Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency, replacing party’s national general secretary Ashok Bajpai, who had already started campaigning in the constituency.

Mishra will now take on BJP national president Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi and BSP’s Nakul Dubey from the seat, which is currently represented by BJP’s Lalji Tandon.

The move came as a shock for Bajpai, who reached party office but refused to talk to journalists. “I will not talk right now,” Bajpai said. A former minister, Bajpai lost the 2012 Assembly elections from Sawaijpur in Hardoi. He was given party ticket from Lucknow in November 2012.

Mishra, on the other hand, claims to be a former faculty at IIM, Ahmedabad and had won the 2012 Assembly polls from Lucknow-North and was appointed minister of state in science and technology department. Much hype was created after Mishra, who is the son of a retired IAS officer, joined the party in 2012. But, he slowly faded and is regarded as a non-starter in the party.