Rita Joshi returns for poll summer in Sangam city after 20 years
The 2019 Parliamentary elections will witness the return of Prayagraj’s own daughter—Rita Bahuguna Joshi— to its soil, to fight an election from her father, former UP chief minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna’s old seat. HN Bahuguna had won from the erstwhile Allahabad seat in 1971 as a Congress candidate and lost his last polls against Amitabh Bachchan in 1984.
Incidentally, her mother, Kamla Bahuguna, had also contested and won from Phulpur parliamentary seat of Prayagraj in 1977.
In the poll fray as a BJP candidate this time, the former medieval and modern history professor of Allahabad University Rita Joshi has never won a parliamentary election: she fought and lost as an SP candidate from Sultanpur in 1998, from Allahabad in 1999 and Lucknow in 2009 and 2014 respectively, all as a Congress candidate.
Joshi, who joined BJP in 2016, has won only the mayoral polls of 1995 in Allahabad which was reserved for women at the time and saw her serving as the city’s first citizen from 1995 to 2000.
It is this jinx of a parliamentary elections win evading her that she will strive to overcome in 2019, poll analysts said.
In 1998, Rita Joshi fought parliamentary elections on an SP ticket from Sultanpur and took on BJP’s Devendra Bahadur Rai. Rai won, polling 2,69,951 votes, while Rita Joshi could get only 2,05,503 votes.
Rita Joshi then joined the Congress and the party fielded her from her father’s old seat of Allahabad in 1999 but this time she had to take on heavyweights Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP and Reoti Raman Singh of SP. She came in third with 1,33,428 votes while Murli Manohar Joshi emerged victorious with 2,19,114 votes and Reoti Raman Singh was the runner-up with 1,48,783 votes.
In the 2009 general elections, Rita Joshi entered the poll arena from Lucknow and took on BJP’s Lalji Tandon in a straight fight. Lalji Tandon won with 2,04,028 votes while Rita Joshi received 1,63,127 votes.
In 2014, she again contested from Lucknow on a Congress ticket but faced a seasoned Rajnath Singh of the BJP. She bagged 2,88,357 votes against Rajnath’s tally of 5,61,106 votes
“I have a decades-old relation with Allahabad parliamentary seat and its people. Even when I was not in politics, I have toured the area extensively with my parents, especially the trans-Yamuna area. Even when I got elected as Mayor of the city and began my political career, my bond with trans-Yamuna region remained intact. Allahabad/Prayagraj has been my parents’ karambhumi and I worked hard to make Kumbh a success in Prayagraj with my colleagues. My party has decided to field me from Allahabad seat after taking into consideration all points and we plan to fight the polls to win it,” Rita Joshi said.