PERHAPS FOR the first time in the history of civic elections in Lucknow, political parties have given a candidate a walkover.
If sources in the district administration are to be believed, Saima Naeem, wife of Golaganj strongman Mohammad Naeem (Nammu), may win the elections hands down as surprisingly mainstream political parties – the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the BJP — have not dared to fight against her in Ward Number 95 in Wazirganj. Friday was the last day for filing of the nomination and Saima is left to combat an unknown entity.
The BJP, the Congress and the SP failed to field their candidates against Saima because of the Naeem factor.
Naeem is facing a trial on charges of murdering Samajwadi Party leader Tariq in Golaganj a few years ago. Therefore, it is understood that at least the SP would challenge Naeem in his ‘pocket borough.’ However, the official candidate of the SP Babli Qureshi did not file her nomination papers, thus almost giving a walkover to Saima.
Sources said the main reason for declaring the ward as reserved was to keep Naeem away. But, there has been no change in the situation. Naeem is a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) worker and a relative of former MP Dawood from Shahbad. Therefore, the candidates from the BSP have filed their nominations as independents.
Samajwadi Party sources say the decision of allotting tickets to the candidates for the ward was given to the Rajya Sabha MP Banwarilal Kanchal. He had assured of pitting one mother of SP worker Ambrish Rai against Saima, however, there was a cold response from them. The district president of SP Mujib-ur-rehman “Babloo” was surprised to see that there was no candidate against Saima.
When asked he said there was no reason for fear, and it was only a lack of coordination among the senior party leaders. Mujib- ur- rehman said Babli Qureshi was not willing to contest on medical grounds. The efforts to contact the district chiefs of the Congress and the BJP proved futile.
Naeem told Hindustan Times that he was not responsible for the ‘walkover’ to his wife Saima. He further said that he had prepared for the elections, and if the other political parties were not ready to contest that was no his fault.