18 September, 2020

Riding His Lucknow

A chance comment by an old Vajpayee hand sets off some speculation and apprehension

AFP (From Outlook 01 April 2013)
Riding His Lucknow

Of late, the big question doing the rounds in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) circles in Lucknow is whether Narendra Modi will use the Uttar Pradesh capital as his national launchpad. The Gujarat CM, to the bemusement of political parties and people of secular outlook, has been seeing a degree of success in projecting himself beyond his state, a recent appearance at a Delhi college being an example. Media attention to invitations abroad—even their revocation—has only served to bulk that projection. So Uttar Pradesh’s two main parties, the BSP and the ruling Samajwadi Party, both of staunch secular avowal, are equally pondering the Modi-in-Lucknow question.

But why Lucknow and why the talk of Lucknow now? “After all, Lucknow has been one of India’s key constituencies,  not only because it is the capital of the country’s most populous state, but also because it was Atal Behari Vajpayee’s winning turf—he won the seat five times in succession from 1991 to 2004,” says state BJP chief Laxmi Shankar Bajpai. The second part...



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