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Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh dwelt at length on his association with Lucknow while party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi made a brief one-line mention of Varanasi in their speeches, thus keeping the suspense alive on the constituencies they would choose to contest.
The Uttar Pradesh BJP h as already sent a recommendation for Modi to contest from one of the four constituencies in UP, including Lucknow and Varanasi. UP BJP in-charge Amit Shah has said that he wants Modi from UP to boost the party’s prospect in the state.
Rajnath Singh on the other hand belongs to UP and is a sitting MP from Ghaziabad. However, there are indications that Singh is interested in Lucknow, a constituency that was represented for five consecutive terms by his mentor and charismatic BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Rajnath described Lucknow as ‘mohabbat ka shehr’ (city of love) and then went on to describe his long association with the state capital where he served in various capacities, including as a minister, state BJP chief and chief minister. “Irrespective of wherever I remain, I would continue to be associated with Lucknow and Uttar Pradesh.”
Modi referred to the city saying, ‘muskuraiye ki aap Lucknow mein hai’ (smile because you are in Lucknow) but also mentioned “subah-e-benares, sham-e-awadh”– (the mornings of Benares and the evenings of Lucknow), which got the inquisitive political analysts debating on the possibility of Gujarat chief minister contesting from UP, possibly Varanasi.
That was even more so as Modi kept his speech focused on UP. Even when he chose to attack the UPA government, he singled out only those ministers who hailed from UP.