From Hazratganj, the shopping destination of the elite, to Aminabad, the favourite market for wholesalers, retailers and middle-class shoppers, Lucknow Central assembly constituency forms the commercial hub of the state capital.
The constituency serves as ‘cash bowl’ for the commercial tax department. Despite being a revenue generator, the constituency is grappling with host of problems.
Erratic power and water supply, undisposed garbage and traffic congestion figure among the problems plaguing the constituency.
Traffic jams have become a routine affair in Hussainganj, Murli Nagar, Kaisarbagh, Aminabad and Nazirabad markets.
Dangling power cables and encroachments in Mumtaz market and Aminabad hinder smooth movement of traffic and is a major problem in emergency situation.
Illegal multi-storey apartments have mushroomed in narrow lanes and bylanes of a number of localities.
“Commuting has become a nightmare for us. Traffic congestion was always a problem and the ongoing metro rail work has aggravated the situation. We have to think twice before moving out of the house even on a rickshaw,” says homemaker Rashi Srivastava, a resident of Hussainganj.
“Traffic movement in our area eases only after 9.30 pm. Marriage halls on main roads on the Odeon Cinema road have added to traffic snarls. During marriage season, traffic movement remains affected till late night hours,” she adds.
Rashmi Chaudhary of Hussainganj complained of inadequate water supply in the area.
Areas under Lucknow Central seat have become a favourite destination for builders. Residential apartments have come up flouting norms. Even in narrow lanes one could find a multi-storey apartment with inadequate parking facility.
“Illegal apartments have come up in Murli Nagar, Aminabad, Hussainganj, Nazarbagh and other areas of the constituency,” said Sharad Gupta, who resides on Odeon Cinema road.
Pharmacists and suppliers of surgical goods in Aminabad also complain of erratic power supply and traffic jams.
“We give so much revenue to the government but our problems are not solved. Power supply is a big issue here. There is no power supply in the market for several hours at a stretch,” says Puneet Sharma, a leading supplier of surgical goods in Aminabad.
“Unloading of consignment from a truck is no less than an ordeal even after the closure of the market,” Sharma added.
Kaiserbagh is known for traffic jams and the roundabout is chock-a-block with traffic most of the time.
An intriguing contest in the offing
A party hopper, a loyalist and a ‘defiant’ make the contest in Lucknow Central assembly constituency intriguing.
After holding a press conference on January 29, SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took out their first-ever joint road show in Lucknow Central.
Now, days before the city goes to poll on February 19, Lucknow Central has Congress rebel Maroof Khan challenging sitting Samajwadi Party MLA Ravidas Mehrotra.
Khan has turned down the party’s official request to withdraw his candidature and is campaigning aggressively. “Senior party leaders will also campaign for me,” Khan told HT.
Lucknow Central is predominantly an urban constituency which comprises of prominent markets Aminabad, Hazratganj, Nazirabad, Kaiserbagh and Murli Nagar.
The constituency is set to witness a faceoff between Congress and SP and it will not be a friendly contest.
A number of Samajwadi Party corporators from various wards in Lucknow Central are rallying behind the Congress candidate.
Former BSP MP Brajesh Pathak is now a BJP candidate from Lucknow Central while Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded Rajeev Srivastava. Ramesh Chandra of the RLD and Mohammad Irfan of the AIMIM are among 17 candidates in fray.
Pathak, a two-time BSP MP and once a loyalist of BSP president Mayawati, changed his loyalty before assembly elections and joined the BJP.
Pathak got elected to 14th Lok Sabha from Unnao on a BSP ticket and was also nominated to Rajya Sabha after he completed the Lok Sabha term.
- Polling centres – 83
- Polling booths – 329
- Male voters – 1,96,750
- Female voters – 1,69,553
- Third gender – 2
- Total voters – 3,66,305
A former president of the Lucknow University Students’ Union (LUSU), Pathak was once a protégé of Vinay Shankar Tewari, son of Hari Shankar Tewari, a mafia-turned politician.
As Pathak’s political career skyrocketed, he parted ways with his mentor and charted his own course.
Ravidas Mehrotra, who is a loyalist of both chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, is fighting against odds as Congress candidate Maroof Khan is playing spoilsport.
“I have the approval of Ghulam Nabi Azad and state Congress president Raj Babbar. I am getting overwhelming support from the people in my constituency,” said Khan.
BSP candidate Rajeev Srivastava, who is trying his luck for the second time, is banking on Dalit and Muslim support.
From 1989 to 2007, BJP has represented this constituency for six times in a row.
The BJP stronghold was breached in 2012 in the first assembly election after delimitation when Ravidas Mehrotra of Samajwadi Party defeated BJP’s Vidya Sagar Gupta.
Before the announcement of final list of candidates by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, nine corporators of the Samajwadi Party from Lucknow Central went to meet him demanding revocation of the candidature of Ravidas Mehrotra, but to no avail.
A prominent Muslim corporator of the Samajwadi Party wanted the ticket and his supporters are now supporting Maroof Khan.