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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Family pitches in as Rajnath house becomes war room

Rajesh Kumar Singh , Hindustan Times  Lucknow, April 27, 2014
First Published: 22:34 IST(27/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(28/4/2014)

With just three days to go for polling in the Uttar Pradesh capital, BJP president and the party's nominee from Lucknow, Rajnath Singh's official residence here has been turned into his election war room ,with family members playing trusted lieutenants.

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The bungalow, situated near chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's official residence, comes alive early in the morning every day as BJP supporters throng it to meet Singh.

“We must focus on the localities in the old city that have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims,” says a BJP leader as Rajnath nods.

In the adjacent room, his son Pankaj Singh discusses the campaign with young party leaders. Since his father has to focus on the BJP’s national strategy, Pankaj handles Rajnath’s campaign in Lucknow.

In another room Rajnath’s wife, Savitri Singh, hosts women party workers and offers them tea and snacks while discussing the campaign plan for the day.

A group of party workers from Uttarakhand are told to meet Rajnath's daughter-in-law Sushma Singh. A trained shooter who has won medals in international and national events, Sushma belongs to the hill state and has been tasked with wooing Lucknow's 1.25 lakh voters who hail from Uttarakhand. She is also countering the campaign by her father-in-law's Congress rival, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who is also eyeing the Uttarakhand voters on the basis of her roots in the hill state.

?At 11am on Sunday, Rajnath leaves his bungalow to campaign in Dhaurahra, Sitapur and Basti. As he boards the chopper at the Amausi airport, his assistant hands him an iPad. He immediately checks his Facebook account and finds 50,000 likes on the message he sent to Modi on the day the BJP's prime ministerial nominee filed his nomination from Varanasi.

Despite hectic electioneering, Rajnath is very active on Twitter as well as Facebook, regularly updating his status and posting comments on political issues.


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