Battle for UP: First timers pose challenge to veterans in Lucknow

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With polling just a day away, Lucknow is set to witness an interesting contest with first timers posing a major challenge to the veterans.

Lucknow has been the stronghold of BJP for decades but the Samajwadi Party (SP) is now confident of making inroads into the BJP bastion.

The Lucknow west seat has been dominated by BJP since 1989.

This time, the constituency is witnessing a close fight between the Congress, SP and BSP who have fielded Muslim candidates while the BJP has banked on a Kayastha candidate.

The seat was won thrice by Ram Kumar Shukla and Lalji Tandon of BJP between 1989 to 2007.

Then again in 2017, BJP’s Suresh Kumar Srivastav won it with a margin of 13,000 votes against SP’s Mohammad Rehan Naeem. After his death in 2019, the seat remained vacant.

The BJP has fielded local Kayastha trader Anjani Kumar Srivastava. The SP has put its stake on Armaan Khan, who contested on the BSP ticket from the seat in 2012 and stood third with over 36,000 votes.

The constituency has a mixed population of 6.12 lakh people comprising Muslims, Dalits, Kayasthas, Thakurs, Brahmins, and Punjabis.

The Lucknow North seat has major educational institutions like Lucknow University, KGMU, Isabella Thoburn College, IIM and AKTU. However, despite a good literacy rate, the constituency has never crossed the 60 per cent voting mark.

The constituency has sitting MLA Neeraj Bora, who is from the BJP, but has had stints in the Congress and BSP too.

This time, he is being challenged by a young student leader, Pooja Shukla, who is the SP candidate.

She shot to the fame after showing black flags to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath following which she was booked for attempt to murder charges.

Meanwhile, the Congress has fielded educationist Ajay Kumar Srivastava, while Aam Aadmi Party has banked upon Amit Srivastav, a local trader.

The BSP has chosen a local Muslim businessman, Mohammad Sarwar Malik for the constituency.

The Lucknow Cantonment seat has emerged as the most prestigious seat in the state capital after the BJP fielded former ED official, Rajeshwar Singh, who recently quit his job to enter politics.

Rajeshwar Singh comes from a family of officials and top BJP leaders have already campaigned for him.

His main contest is with former SP minister Abhishek Mishra.

Rajeshwar Singh has managed to win over SP rebel and veteran leader Sharda Pratap Shukla to his side and this is proving to be a game changer for him.

The Sarojini Nagar seat was held by state Minister Swati Singh, but she has been denied a ticket this time.

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