BJP candidate for Lucknow mayor Sanyukta Bhatiya has her party’s top leadership rooting for her – from the Chief Minister and his colleagues to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Compared to this, the SP and BSP have kept an arm’s distance from the campaign, while the Congress, which had earlier announced a list of star campaigners, has had only state party chief Raj Babbar speak for its candidate Prema Awasthi.
Adityanath on Sunday addressed two public meetings supporting Bhatiya, wife of former party MLA Satish Bhatiya, and is likely to do the same on November 23 and 24 as well. And while the chief minister is scheduled to address at least 30 such campaign meetings, he will not be any other constituency more than once. Officially, however, the BJP claims that the push for Bhatiya was a result of Lucknow being the state capital.
“The CM resides here and hence he is available for public meetings. Likewise, minister residing in Lucknow are regularly campaigning for the candidate here,” said Rakesh Trivedi, BJP state vice-president and in-charge of the poll campaign.
Party insiders, however, acknowledge the “special treatment” and attribute it to the Bhatiya family’s connections with the RSS and Lucknow being the seat of power in the state. “As local body polls are the first test for the Adityanath government, BJP wants to win the state capital seat with the maximum margin. BJP had been winning the Lucknow mayor’s seat the last four times, even when it was not in power. Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma had himself won it two consecutive terms,” said a BJP leader.
The Bhatiya family has a long history with the RSS, BJP’s parent body. Sanyukta Bhatiya’s son Prashant is RSS Lucknow Vibhag Karyavah. Workers of different RSS wings are also engaged in campaign management work. Union Home Minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh on Saturday addressed workers’ meet in city and appealed them to work for Bhatiya’s victory.
Sources said Rajnath is the only Union minister, who has addressed any such gathering in support of mayor candidate so far and party has decided not to engage any other union minister. Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma too addressed workers meet and campaigned for Bhatiya. Soon, sources said, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya too will campaign for her.
Other ministers to root for Bhatiya include Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Ashutosh Tandon, Brajesh Pathak, Swati Singh and Mohsin Raza.