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Easy ride for PM, Sonia

In UP, the tale of 3 constituencies is becoming much clearer. Lucknow will return Vajpayee, Rai Bareli Sonia and Allahabad MM Joshi to Lok Sabha.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2004 12:34 IST

In Uttar Pradesh, the tale of three constituencies is becoming much clearer. Lucknow will return A.B. Vajpayee to the Lok Sabha, Sonia Gandhi is going to knock the opposition out in Rae Bareli and Allahabad is a canter for M.M. Joshi.

There isn’t much of a feel-good factor in Lucknow, but Vajpayee’s personal charisma and stature makes it a one-horse race in the state capital. There are good reasons for the absence of a feel-good factor — the state of civic amenities is terrible.

But that does not affect the people’s admiration for the Prime Minister. It’s not just the charisma — the fact that Vajpayee has succeeded in providing stable governance to the country also makes a big difference. A Lucknow University professor who isn’t buying the feel-good argument says he will vote for Vajpayee because he has provided stability. And there are many like him.

Sonia too has a huge following in Rae Bareli. Nobody there is buying the issue of her foreign origin. People say she became an Indian the moment she married into the Gandhi family.

And the more the BJP goes for the Italian job, the more the determination to vote for Sonia Gandhi increases — and most people don’t mind her becoming Prime Minister. Even BJP supporters criticise intemperate outbursts, like the one made by UP BJP chief Vinay Katiyar.

In Allahabad, Joshi is on a roll, despite the controversy about the IIMs and other institutes of higher learning. There are some murmurs of discontent about why he hasn’t made Allahabad University a central university, but there’s a lot going for him. The opposition is weak and the fact that assembly speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi has been fielded from a contiguous constituency will help.

The Allahabad BJP is split between Joshi and Tripathi’s supporters — and this move will mean the speaker’s supporters will be too busy campaigning to sabotage Joshi’s chances.

First Published: Mar 26, 2004 12:56 IST