Lucknow: It is a unique election in Lucknow, and very different from the bitterness that has come to dominate the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the city of nawabs known for its tehzeeb (civility), there are no personal attacks against each other by the main candidates; instead, the debate is on development, and the BJP is especially seeking the support of Muslims.
Here’s where home minister Rajnath Singh was literally mobbed by Muslim students of a madrasa for selfies on Tuesday when he visited the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama to meet Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi.
Singh also reached out to meet the prominent Muslim clerics of the city.
He also held a rally in Aminabad which has a good population of Muslims. While Singh has not made any personal remark against his nearest rival from the Samajwadi Party, Poonam Sinha, he has raised the development pitch saying he and BJP brought development works worth .`25,000 crore to Lucknow in the past five years.
Sinha has also not resorted to any personal attack against Singh. “I don’t do such a thing as my husband Shatrughan Sinha has taught me that — what he had learnt from the likes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani,” Sinha told ET.
She said her main pitch is development.
“No one had done more work for Lucknow than Akhilesh Yadav — from the Lucknow Metro to Gomti river beautification to the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. So, we deserve the votes of the people of Lucknow,” Sinha said. BSP chief Mayawati campaigned for Sinha at a rally in Lucknow, and later, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav too urged party workers to help Sinha win.
“Lucknow is a city of tehzeeb (civility) and a virasat of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji which Rajnath Singh is now carrying forward. Everyone is welcome here to come contest and we will not personally attack anyone-…but we will say that we will win by a record margin,” Rajnath Singh’s son and UP MLA Pankaj Singh said.
Speaking to Muslims in Old Lucknow, ET found that the Shia community which had backed Vajpayee and Singh in the past, is a bit apprehensive this time after the Ali-Bajrangbali comments of CM Yogi Adityanath.
“Ali is dear for us and we were angry with such comments. But now Rajnath Singh has come and reached out to our community in Lucknow.
We will vote for him as he is a harmonious face inside the BJP,” Faiz Ahmed at the Nadwatul madrasa told ET. Sunni Muslims, however, seem to be clearly rooting for the Samajwadi Party despite what they term as a not-so-strong candidate in Sinha. “Congress should have withdrawn its candidate in Lucknow. It is only dividing the votes. We may vote for Sinha but the fact is that Rajnath Singh will win easily,” a trader Haneem Mohd in the old city’s Chowk area said.
Akhilesh Yadav, at a party workers’ meeting in Lucknow on Wednesday, said Lucknow’s election should only be fought on issue of development.