A high profile candidate contesting from a high profile seat, BJP national president Rajnath Singh is yet to address a public meeting or start a door-to-door campaign in Lucknow despite visiting the city thrice since announcement of his candidature.
While the local people are still missing Rajnath, who is the claimant for legacy of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who represented Lucknow in Lok Sabha, senior party leaders such as sitting MP Lalji Tandon, Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma and Rajnath’s family members, including his wife Savitri Singh, sons Pankaj and Neeraj, and daughter-in-law Sushma, have taken responsibility of the campaign.
Rajnath himself is seeking public support through indoor meetings with representatives of different organisations of the society.
Lalji Tandon, who is also Rajnath’s election in-charge said, “He does not need to campaign like other candidates. He is holding meetings —- nine on Sunday —- with people of different sections of the society.”
Former party state media in-charge Narendra Singh Rana said, Rajnath’s public meetings and road shows will begin after April 20.
The main challenge for Rajnath in Lucknow is Congress nominee Rita Bahuguna Joshi who was runner up in 2009 elections. Joshi is holding padyatras in the city to attract voters. SP candidate Abhishek Mishra, BSP’s Nakul Dubey and Aam Aadmi Party candidate Jaaved Jaaferi too have taken to walking on roads to appeal the voters.
To counter Joshi, who is eyeing support of Lucknow residents belonging to mountainous regions, Pankaj’s wife and sister of international shooter Jaspal Rana, has campaigned in the localities including Kurmanchal Nagar, Pant Nagar, Shakti Nagar and Vikas Nagar where people from mountainous regions live in large numbers.
Rajnath in his recent three-day tour, met representatives of various NGOs, chartered accountants, company secretaries, Banga Samaj (Bengali), Sahu Samaj, Scheduled Castes, Mazdoor Sangh and medial practitioners. He attended an event on Sunday to interact with students but preferred to give a speech.
He also held meeting with lawyers and traders and assured them redressal of their problems if BJP comes to power after Lok Sabha elections. He also met the Muslim clerics of Shia and Sunni sects on Monday. Rajnath had held similar meeting with different organisations in his previous tours as well.
Former cricketer and senior party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu along with Rajnath offered prayers at a Gurdwara in Lucknow Monday. But when Sidhu took out a road show in the city in his support, Rajnath was not with him.
Rajnath’s wife Savitri Singh has taken to roadshows to make an appeal to the women. Pankaj is moving door-to-door in the markets. He also visited Shakti Bhawan and met government employees. Neeraj too is taking part in Prabhat Pheri. Lalji Tandon and mayor Sharma also prefer to walk in busy markets to make an appeal for Rajnath.
“People who had voted for Atal for five consecutive times want to listen Rajnath who invokes Atal in his speeches,” said Prakash Gupta, a grocery shop owner in Lucknow East Assembly constituency, the only Assembly seat in Lucknow that BJP won in 2012.