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Battle for Lucknow: 41 in fray,driving admn up the wall

Election season sees no end to the swelling aspirations of wannabe politicians. This time around,41 candidates are competing for the Lucknow seat...

Written by Neha Attre | Lucknow |
April 17, 2009 2:53:39 am

Election season sees no end to the swelling aspirations of wannabe politicians. This time around,41 candidates are competing for the Lucknow seat,which has put the district administration on tenterhooks as they prepare for the April 30 polls.

From an increased number of Ballot Units (BU) to the problem of accommodating representatives of all candidates in one polling booth,there is a lot the administration has to take care of.

“We require 3,034 extra BU machines. While the cost of one BU is around Rs 4,500,the total cost of extra machines would come to around Rs 1,26,53,000,” said a senior district administration official. In the Lucknow parliamentary constituency,1,517 polling booths will be set up. Since a machine can have only 16 names,around 4,551 BU machines will be required.

“Apart from the increase in the number of BU machines,the arrangement becomes even more complicated because of the large number of candidates,” said RK Singh,ADM (Administration).

The officials also face various problems like additional time required to set up details of candidates in the Electronic Ballot Marker.

Also,there will be space-crunch in the seating arrangements at polling booths. As per rule,first preference will be given to candidates of national parties,then to registered parties and finally to Independent candidates. So it is likely that the Independent candidates will be the ones facing a major problem,said a senior official. The officials have to stick to a budget of around Rs 20 lakh for the Lucknow parliamentary constituency.

The candidates have their own reasons for jumping into the fray. For 63-year-old GC Shrivastav,it is all about portraying a clean image of the Independent candidates. “I have been constantly reading about how unfit an Independent candidate is who is fighting the election. I am here to prove it otherwise,” said Shrivastav. Two years ago,he had contested the Mayor’s election with the same cause in mind,but had eventually lost.

Radheshyam (69) believes in conveying his message through woman power.

“I only trust women. So around 50 NGO female supporters are accompanying me in my door-to-door campaign. There is no male supporter doing the job as I do not trust them and women can do a better job convincing voters,” he said. Radheyshyam had contested the Zila Panchayat elections as a BSP candidate in 2005. As for Rajeev Ranjan Tiwari (29),“politics has its own high”. “I qualified for the BEd examinations in 2006 and MBA through UPTU last year but did not join as I wanted to make a mark in politics only,” he said,“I had contested in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha elections also but had lost”.

Now here is someone,who has an entirely different cause — to protect the rights of domestic helps. “No one bothers about the plight of helpers working in our house. There is no one to fight for them and their rights. I will take up their cause once I win the elections. Even they should be entitled to weekly off like we do,” said Ashok Kumar Pal (31).

Focusing on participation of youth in the elections,Rajesh Kumar Naithani (35) said: “There is a need to ensure that youths should be more active as they can work harder due to higher level of physical strength.” According to Naithani,reservation on basis of caste should be abolished.

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