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Battle for UP: Why Lucknow Cantt seat is now so important

1/17/2022
The Lucknow Cantt seat has suddenly turned into a much-coveted Assembly segment with several BJP leaders making a bid for it even though the party has a sitting legislator on it.

BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who won the seat in 2017, now wants to field her son Mayank Joshi, who is making his political debut.

She had vacated the seat in 2019 after she won the Lok Sabha seat from Allahabad.

Joshi has been lobbying hard for the ticket and her supporters claim that if Rajnath Singh, an MP, can get a ticket for his son Pankaj Singh, and Rajvir Singh, also an MP, can get a ticket for his son Sandeep Singh, they Rita Bahuguna Joshi also deserves to field her son.

Suresh Tiwari, a former MLA, regained the seat for the BJP in 2019 when he won the by-election from here. He had won the seat in 1996, 2002 and 2007 also.

According to party sources, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma also has an eye on this seat that has a sizeable upper caste vote.

While the other Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya has been named as a candidate for the Sirathu seat in Kaushambhi district, Sharma's candidature is yet to be cleared.

According to a party leader, Dinesh Sharma would prefer the Cantt seat which has 1.5 lakh Brahmin voters, 60,000 Sindhi and Punjabi voters who are traditionally BJP supporters, 25,000 Vaishya voters and Muslim voters are only about 40,000.

What has suddenly made this seat into a VIP seat are reports that Aparna Yadav, younger daughter-in-law of Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, is all set to contest this seat.

Aparna, wife of Prateek Yadav, had contested the 2017 elections from the Lucknow Cantt seat but lost to BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

There have been speculations that Aparna is preparing to join the BJP, but sources close to her claim that this is likely to happen only if she is denied a ticket by the Samajwadi Party.

Her uncle Shivpal Yadav has already advised her to stay in the family and the party and work. "She will get a reward at the right time," he said.

BJP leaders, on the other hand, feel that Suresh Tiwari should be renominated for this seat since he got barely two years after he was elected in the by-election.

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