As steam starts oozing out of the kettle at a tea stall in Bhootnath market, people waiting for a cup utilise their time by evaluating the decision they took in 2012 for Lucknow East constituency.
“The contest is tough this time,” remarks Devendra Gupta, senior vice-president of Lucknow Vyapaar Mandal during a chat with traders Amitabh Srivastava, Sohail Haider and Paramjeet Singh.
In 2012, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalraj Mishra won the seat by securing 68,726 votes, defeating Juhi Singh of the Samajwadi Party (47,908 votes). The by-election in 2014 also went in favour of the BJP.
Gupta feels SP-Congress joint candidate Anurag Singh Bhadauria and Saroj Kumar Shukla of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may make BJP’s task tougher. BJP has been winning the seat since 1991.
Lucknow East is one of the most happening constituencies of the district. Abuzz with trade activity, it also has the maximum number of job aspirants and business establishments.
“It used to be a matter of pride for those who resided in Indira Nagar. However, the planned colony has failed to meet the challenges of growing population. Once touted as Asia’s biggest colony, the area hardly has any good road with footpaths,” says Subodh Shukla, a resident of Indira Nagar.
Bhootnath market, also known as ‘mini-Hazratganj’, is struggling to keep pace with the changing times. Markets have no public toilets and the ones that exist are not enough to cater to the crowd.
A few shop owners had to get toilets constructed, as unclean ones kept customers at bay.
“Traders want conducive business environment but there is no space. It has become difficult to walk through Bhootnath due to encroachments. Similar situation prevails at Amrapali, Munshipulia, Nishatganj and other markets where traders suffer losses,” says Gupta.
Main roads are full of potholes and lanes are in a bad shape.
The entire constituency is well connected with public transport but commuting is still not easy. Unplanned stoppages give a tough time to people.
“The issue of unemployment can be addressed if the potential of individuals is linked to the work they can do best,” says Anurag Singh Bhadauria.
“Security of women and senior citizens is a major poll issue. Women think twice before going out alone after 7 pm,” says Ekta Shukla, a housewife.
“The issue of women’s security issue can be addressed by Mahila Raksha Dal, a quick response team,” says Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Rohit Agrawal.
“Heaps of garbage spoil the look of the roads. We pay taxes but do not get basic facilities. There is no one to solve our problems,” says Priyanka, a housewife.
People in Harihar Nagar have put up bamboo poles to get electricity while construction of roads is a major demand in Kalyanpur.
Residents of Patel Nagar and Rajiv Nagar say basic problems are not addressed by public representatives. “Notwithstanding the politics between an MLA and the state government, at least our representative can raise our problems, even if solution is not possible,” says a voter.
Lucknow East has schools, hotels, parks and offices of multinational companies but people want their requirement of ‘bijli, sadak and paani’ (electricity, road and water) be met.
Brahmin, Thakur and Muslim voters hold the key to Vidhan Sabha. The constituency has 10% residents who are from other cities, especially from Purvanchal (east UP), and are settled in Indira Nagar and Gomti Nagar.
From former UP chief minister Chandra Bhanu Gupta to BJP heavyweight Kalraj Mishra, the constituency has elected politicians from various parties since 1951.
Voters have given opportunity to a number of candidates and parties but repeated only a few.
Lucknow East has been BJP’s bastion ever since 1991 when Bhagwati Prasad Shukla defeated Congress’s Swaroop Rani Bakshi by 24,412 votes. Shukla retained the seat in 1993.
After delimitation, parts of Mahona constituency were included in Lucknow East.
Prominent MLAs from Lucknow East include former chief minister Chandra Bhanu Gupta, Swaroop Rani Bakshi, and Kalraj Mishra.
In 2012 assembly elections, Lucknow East was the only seat in the state capital that was retained by the BJP.
Areas that come under the constituency include Mahanagar, Badshahnagar, Gomti Nagar, Rabindrapalli, Indira Nagar, Ismailganj, Kamta and Kalyanpur.