Rajnath eyes Vajpayee's Lucknow Legacy

At a time when BJP is claiming that a Modi wave is sweeping the country, the party’s national president Rajnath Singh is scouting for a safe constituency for himself
Pradeep Kapoor Lucknow

Due to a delicate imbalance of circumstances, Rajnath Singh is finding it difficult to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Ghaziabad, where he had won from in the last polls. For the president of a national party stated to come to power this time, this is an unhealthy indicator. In the 2009 polls, the BJP had an alliance with the JD (U) and its local leader KC Tyagi was instrumental in getting one lakh votes from his caste for Rajnath Singh. But he got comfortable with his friendship with Amar Singh and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who did not field any candidate against him. He was enjoying a roller coaster ride.

Rajnath Singh is targeting the Parliamentary seat from Lucknow, which had sent Atal Behari Vajpayee to Lok Sabha five times. He wants to inherit that legacy.

During Narendra Modi’s recent rally in Lucknow, Singh demonstrated his love for the city of Nawabs when he talked about Lucknavi tehzeeb and Urdu poetry to furnish his claims for the seat. 

Known for his good relations with the leaders of all rival political parties, he is trying to fix the candidates who will contest against him. Much significance is being attached to his recent meeting with prominent Bollywood actor turned politician, Raj Babbar, who is from the Congess, after he expressed interest in contesting from Lucknow. The BJP president’s exertions seem to have worked as Babbar has agreed to not contest from Lucknow and is now exploring to fight from Ghaziabad – hoping that Singh would help him get elected. 

Much significance is also being attached to a reported statement of Rajnath Singh’s, when he tendered an apology to Muslims for any injustice done to him through his party or its government in the past, or ‘even in the future’. 

Political pundits believe that this statement was a deliberate attempt by him to woo minorities before the elections, especially to attract Lucknow voters where Muslims play a very important role.