THE CONGRESS has begun to believe that city’s mayoral poll can galvanize the party before the forthcoming assembly poll. This realization has spurred the Congress to go all out in its campaign for mayoral candidate Manzoor Ahmed.
“It is a litmus test for the Congress, ahead of the assembly polls,” admitted one of the senior party functionaries. He added, “Much of the party’s hope is on Manzoor, who will be the first Muslim mayor of Lucknow if he wins. Votes polled in mayoral elections will determine the road map for the Congress”.
Of the 110 wards, the party has put up 108 candidates. In two wards it would play a supportive role, said the mayoral candidate. Though the party is banking much on Muslim votes, Manzoor said he was trying to reach out to all castes and creed.
About 18 lakh people in Lucknow are going to exercise their franchise. Of them, local leaders feel about 2 lakh were committed Congress voters. “The result in the last Lok Sabha election proves it,” said Manzoor. The Congress had polled just over 2 lakh votes against former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“We had fared well in the 2000 civic poll. The party had polled over 95,000 votes in the city,” he said.
The former cop is trying to bank on these figures, get more votes and get to the coveted chair. These days, Manzoor is on the job at 7.30 in the morning. “I visit the nearby government offices and meet visitors at home. Then I rush to the party office to kick off campaigning for the day,” he said.
“I normally cover 6-7 wards daily,” said Manzoor. On Monday, the rozedaar Manzoor visited Kanhaiyyaganj, Madhopur and the limb centre. He then joined corporators in a padyatra in the Subhash Chandra ward.
This will be the regular grind for Manzoor, who has been an additional DGP and the vice-chancellor of Agra University.
“We have an economist prime minister and scientist President. We may guess what Lucknowites may want,” he quipped with a smile that he would love to flash again after the counting is over.