A biggie, a rebel and a woman make the contest interesting

Entry of chief minister’s cousin Anurag and expelled BJP leader’s wife Swati has brought focus on the constituency.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 16, 2017 12:33 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Lucknow, Hindustan Times
Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2017,Sarojni Nagar constituency,Swati Singh
CM’s cousin Anurag and expelled BJP leader’s wife Swati are pitted against sitting SP MLA who is contesting on RLD ticket; BSP nominee and an independent candidate also in race.(HT Photo )

Known for giving unexpected results every time it goes to polls, the Lucknow’s Sarojini Nagar constituency is often referred to as a ‘surprise constituency.’

Barring the BJP, candidates of all prominent parties (Janata Dal, Janata Party, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party) and also Independents have represented the seat in last 13 assembly polls since 1967.

However, the delimitation in 2011 has changed the voter dynamics in the constituency with upper caste share increasing to 32%, making the BJP prospects brighter. While the Muslim and Dalit voters have decreased considerably after delimitation, many feel it won’t be an easy sail for the BJP candidate Swati Singh this time.

She is facing the challenge from party rebel leader Rudra Daman Singh, who is now contesting as independent candidate. He had got an impressive 41,000 votes in 2012 polls.

BJP candidate, Swati Singh, campaigning in her constituency. (HT Photo)

Making the contest interesting is Anurag Yadav, who is chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin and is the SP-Congress alliance joint candidate.

Interesting, the hurdle in Anurag’s way is sitting SP MLA Sharda Pratap Shukla who has rebelled and is contesting as Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate this time.

Shukla has won the seat thrice, as an independent, Janta Dal, and SP candidate in 1985, 1989 and 2012 respectively.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) is banking on Yadavs and other backward castes which together form 52.5 % of strong vote bank. Similarly, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too is banking on 22 % Brahmins, 8 % Kashtariya and 2 % of Vaish voters (total 32 % of general category voters).

Read more: It’s Yadav family’s chhoti bahu vs veteran Bahuguna in Lucknow Cantt seat

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Shiv Shankar Singh Chauhan alias Shankari Singh to garner 28 % SC/ST and 8 % Kshatriyas (total 36 % vote) votes.

The experts insist the addition of youths votes of around 44,000 would also play a crucial role. The people in the constituency say it is difficult to guess the mood of youths and feel that the contest would be very close between all five main candidates.

Tracing the history

Sharda Pratap Shukla is a three time MLA from the constituency. While in 1985 he won as an independent candidate banking on general category voters, in 1989 and 2012 he got elected as Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party candidates.

In 1991, Vijay Kumar Tripathi popularly known as Raja Saheb from Congress grabbed the seat banking on the Congress sympathy vote. The SP’s Shyam Kishore Yadav won the elections twice in 1993 and 1996 courtesy the high percentage of Yadav voters.

Later, BSP’s Mohd Irshad Khan won elections twice in 2002 and 2007 grabbing major portion of Dalit and Muslim voters added after the then delimitation.

Since 1967, Congress had won the seat five times, SP won the seat thrice and BSP won the seat twice. Janata Dal, Janata Party and independent candidate has grabbed the seat one time each.

Constituency profile

Sarojininagar constituency is a mix of rural and urban areas including 80 Gram Sabhas and 9 Lucknow Municipal Corporation wards. It includes around 2, 55,000 urban voters and 1, 40,000 rural voters. The constituency covers localities of Banthra, Krishna Nagar, Para, PGI, Sarojininagar and Ashiana, Cant, Gosaiganj and a part of Mohanlalganj.

All want infrastructure, better law & order

Youngsters insist they want to rise above caste and religion this election and vote for the best candidate. (HT Photo)

Bad roads, choked drains, underdeveloped residential colonies and spurt in crime graph are main issues that will be in the mind of voters of Sarojini Nagar constituency.

Almost all of the voters Hindustan Times approached unanimously agreed to vote for development, better civic facilities, employment opportunities, better law and order situation and uprooting corruption.

“We will vote for the candidate who will ensure better roads and other infrastructure in the area,” said a group of youngsters caught discussing politics at a prominent eatery near Power House crossing in Aashiana.

“Constituency has been continuously neglected by the politicians as they always talk of area’s caste ratios but this time the youngsters has decided to vote for the better candidate cutting across the caste and religion,” said Satyendra, 28, a private firm executive.

Another youth, Zeeshan, 25, said he and his friends will vote for the candidate who will ensure development and employment for youngsters.

Unlike youngsters, Varsha Singh, 36, a house wife said she will vote for candidate who will ensure better civic facilities in the area and safe atmosphere for women. She pointed out that nobody has done anything to address the sewage and water supply issues in her colony (and resident of New Defence Colony alongside Saheed Path on Rae Bareli road) for the past 20 years.

She also raised an issue of women safety in the area.

Another housewife Sonaki, 34, a resident of Eldeco Udyan II colony, too insisted that spurt in crime was the major issue the constituency faces.

“The biggest issue of the area is frequent crime incidents like house thefts, chain and purse snatchings. Moreover, Ashiana, which is the constituency’s biggest residential colony, is infamous for crime against women like rape and eve teasing” she said and added, “For voters, it is time to decide the fate of the area for next five years and vote for better candidate”.

Vikas Singh Barthwal, 39, a resident of South City colony, said the water logging due to choked drains in the biggest issue for his colony. He said he will vote for person who will focus on improving basic civic amenities.

Read more: Lucknow East constituency, city’s business hub, wants political parties to create jobs

First Published: Feb 15, 2017 18:10 IST